EAS IX: Neil Johnson of Navitas on Battery Safety

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Neil Johnson of the Navitas Systems Advanced Solutions Group gave the gathering at the ninth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium an overview on battery reserve limits and gauging, and the methods necessary to address the different failure modes for lithium batteries, all of which could be problematic for electric aircraft. Navitas includes some legacy technology adapted from 123 Systems, typically 18650 format batteries, an 18-millimeter by 65-millimeter cylinder with active materials separated by a dialectric separator material in a “Tootsie Roll” configuration.  Some of the chemistries involved were developed for Formula 1 racers, and according to a talk given by Bill Dube’ and Eva Håkansson, are considerably more powerful than “conventional” lithium cells. According to Neil, the five billion cells out there now …

What Did You Do Over the Labor Day Weekend?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

KillaJoule is the world’s fastest electric motorcycle with a top speed of 241 mph (388 km/h) so far.  About 80 percent of this sleek bullet is the design and work product of co-owner and driver Eva Håkansson, who has graced the stage at two Electric Aircraft Symposiums, the last appearance with her husband and crew chief, Bill Dube’.  Their web site explains, “KillaJoule is really eco-activism in disguise. The only purpose of this 19 foot, 400 horsepower, sleek, sexy motorcycle is to show that eco-friendly doesn’t mean slow and boring.” Over the Labor Day weekend, Eva lowered her petite frame (she’s about five feet tall) into the cockpit of her speedy sidecar to break her old world record and set …

Less Expensive Batteries May Lead to More Homebuilt Electric Airplanes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

It came as somewhat of a shock that high-quality lithium battery prices could drop low enough to encourage electric aircraft developers an opportunity to “scrounge” in the style of the original home-built airplane builders.  Early aircraft “home-builders” often cannibalized war-surplus aircraft or wrecks of private planes for parts and materials that could be adapted into their own designs.  Ground power units (GPUs), for instance, became an early supply point for engine cores that could be converted to aircraft use – possible on “Experimental” homebuilts, although frowned upon by the FAA for factory-builts. Your editor thought at one point that auto wrecking yards might provide a source of used batteries for experimental electric airplanes, but the thought of all the internal …

Eva and Bill Do It Again

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Eva Hakansson and Bill Dube’ are a husband-and-wife team with a deeply-felt need for speed. Bill races Killacycle, only recently unseated as the fastest electric drag racing motorcycle in the world, capable of seven-second, 170 mph quarter-mile times and speeds. His zero-to-60 time is under one second, somewhat like an aircraft carrier launch in terms of acceleration and the accompanying forces. Eva now holds the record for the world’s fastest electric sidecar motorcycle – beating her previous record on the Bonneville Salt Flats. A sidecar in this case is a two-wheeled, streamlined two-wheeler with an outrigger, but not a rider, as on a traditional sidecar. In-cockpit videos show the finesse with which Eva keeps Killajoule on the straight and narrow …

Lord Drayson’s American Friends

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, a husband and wife battery-building and electric motorcycle-racing team, have many world records of their own, but are always happy to help others win a few. According to their Facebook page, “The Drayson B12 69/EV electric car driven by Lord Drayson set a new FIA world speed record today for electric cars under 1,000 [kilograms] (2,200 pounds) of 204.2 mph (328.6 km/h). Bill and I are particularly happy for the Drayson team since we have been involved in the design of the 850 horsepower battery pack.” In fact, at last year’s CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium, the couple discussed how they built the pack for the Drayson team, a meticulous and hazardous process that requires …

Joules in Her Crown

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of the favorite speakers at the Electric Aircraft Symposia sponsored by the CAFE Foundation, Eva Håkansson is more than just a great talker. She recently topped 216 miles per hour in KillaJoule, her streamlined electric sidecar motorcycle. She built 80 percent of the 250-horsepower vehicle herself over two and one-half years. An engineering graduate student at the University of Denver, Eva and her husband Bill Dube’ hold world records on and in their electric motorcycles. Eva managed to come within three mph of the world record internal-combustion powered for sidecars on the salt flat. She also managed a world record for the flying mile, going through the traps at 191.488 mph – the record awaiting American Motorcycle Association certification.  …

The Sixth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The CAFE Foundation will hold its sixth Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 27 and 28, 2012 at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California and at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, site of the Green Flight Challenge. Not only will there be a stellar lineup of speakers, but flying demonstrations of electric and hybrid aircraft, a first at any EAS. Jack Langelaan, team leader for the GFC-winning Electro Taurus G4 team, and Tine Tomazic from Pipistrel will share insights on the design and flight of the 403.5 epmpg aircraft.  David Calley, Chief Technical Officer for Motor Excellence, will describe ideal low-RPM motors for electric aircraft, and Mark Moore from NASA’s Langley Research Center will share breakthroughs in distributed …

CAFE Makes the Top of Kitplanes’ Cover

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

 While at the local magazine store, or the proverbial fine book store, you’ll be able to spot Kitplanes’ August 2010 issue easily.  The yellow letters on the cover line above the magazine title pop with upper-case intensity: “FUTURE SHOCK: CAFE’S Electric Aircraft Symposium.” Not only does the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium get pride of place on the magazine’s cover and in four pages inside, but Marc Cook, editor-in-chief for the publication, titles his “Around the Patch” editorial “Making Electric Aircraft Exciting,” and proceeds to share his surprised discovery of respect for the new Toyota Prius, and to praise the husband-wife team of Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, battery builder and racer, respectively, of Killacycle, the 0-60 in one second electric …

The Battery Pack Builder with the Ceramic Wedding Ring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

The Killacycle Racing Team is led by two people, Bill Dube’, designer, builder, and driver of the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, and his wife, Eva Hakansson, crew chief and battery builder for the high-velocity two-wheeler.  Eva’s talk at the fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California caused several stirs in the audience, and hinted at where battery technology might go in the future. Wanting to free electric vehicles from their “boring and slow” image, Eva seeks to make them “sexy and fast.” Pictures of her and Bill’s wedding, in which the bride wore traditional Swedish wedding garb and entered on a motorcycle, the ceremony took place in a motorcycle trailer, and for which both bride and groom wore …