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 …

Racing Improves the Electric Breed

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

September 2014 will mark the debut of a new electric racing series, Formula E, with all the things essential to aeronautical design – light weight, strength, speed, and power – highlighted in abundance. Staged as a series of 10 races around the world on city streets, the series will field 10 teams, each with two Spark-Renault SRT-01E racers.  This is the first electric race vehicle to be homologated, or approved, by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the international body overseeing formula and rally car racing. The cars’ monocoque aluminum and carbon fiber chassis “fully complies with the 2014 FIA crash tests – the same used to regulate Formula One.  The French firm Spark Racing Technology, along with others including …

Conventional Batteries “A Thing of the Past?”

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Volvo Car Group has announced their development of what they term, “A revolutionary concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles.”   Using carbon fiber and other composite materials to make batteries and supercapacitors within structural panels, Volvo hopes to offer “lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.” This blog reported on earlier efforts by Dr. Emile Greenhalgh at Imperial College in London, working on creating energy storage with simple carbon-fiber/fiberglass/carbon-fiber sandwiches as an academic lead partner with Volvo.  His work is directed toward creating structural supercapacitors, while efforts at Volvo in Sweden, led by Per-Ivar Sellergren and working with his nearly …

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 …