Solar powered aircraft

edited November -1 in General
The battery is 72KWh almost the capacity of the Tesla Model S 85KWh battery. The carbon fiber structure is super light but at the same time super strong. The plane flies very quietly and "not even a vibration" just like the Tesla Model S. It may be a long wait, but someday ICE will disappear and people will never look back to the stinky time of using oil as energy source. I can't wait for a Tesla airplane. It should not be long, since SpaceX is making rockets already.


  • edited November -1
    I've been thinking about the same thing for a long time (since hearing about Tesla's engineering success). There are so many benefits for starting off this in the small airplane market. Not the least is the cost of plane fuel (higher than preminum grade gasoline) and need to have a pump at every little air-field.

    That said, I really would like to know some more details on what is expected out of this version of the plane. I'd be more interested in a plane without solar panels, to reduce the weight and size significantly, and adding to the battery packs.

    I'm not a pilot or anything, but would love to see a small (4-8 passenger) sized plane made out of battery technology (similar concept to Tesla), with a range of about 1,000 - 2,000 miles, and speeds of about 200-300 miles/hour (I'm just guestimating on what would be "reasonable/good" stats). Oh the other major stat... at a cost of about $100-150k!

    If this comes around, I'd seriously think of getting a pilot license and one of these planes.
  • edited November -1
    This company has been selling battery powered aircrafts for a year or two
  • edited November -1
    Well Tesla could partner with an existing aircraft manufacturer ala its electric RAV4 deal and do what it it is best at, electric drive trains, designing and tooling up for production of a whole aircraft would take a lot of time and money. The electric Cessna is in final testing so is not like the automotive world where nobody is interested in electric drive.

    An electric private plane would have major operational cost savings, even if the initial price was the same or slightly higher it would make general aviation more affordable...

    Hoping that this 'takes off'.
  • edited November -1
    That "solar powered aircraft" is single-person Boeing 747-wingspan electric engine assisted glider. Not much resemblance to actually useful aircraft. A bit like saying that solar racers are cars.

    There are real useful electric aircraft, but that's not one of them.

    The nemesis of aircraft is weight. Size is not that much a problem (though it is a small problem), so maybe either fuel cell or lithium-air could be used as energy/power source for future long range electric aircraft. Current Li-ion batteries need to get quite a lot smaller and cheaper (/kWh) to be competitive to combustion engine aircraft.
  • edited November -1
    I wonder if electric airships are feasible.
  • edited November -1
    Electric airship coated with thin film solar cells would be a lot more feasible than heavier than air solar aircraft. A lot of surface area with minimal power requirements. Running with batteries when Sun is not available.

    I think there are or at least there were plans to make kind of luxury yachts for skies. Modern versions of Zeppelin with ability to actually land and not just anchored to ground like those WW1 & 2 era things were. Who cares if crossing the Atlantic takes a week if you have basically all the luxuries of the high-end hotel in there.
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