Man, I sure am getting a lot of mileage lately from that old ad slogan, ain’t I?
It seems like a really bad idea, yet it’s one United Airlines reportedly just bought into – probably for many millions of dollars (the actual sum hasn’t been disclosed). It will “invest” in the development – italics to emphasize the nonexistence at present – of the ES-19, an electric aircraft that exists on the drawing board only. This hypothetical aircraft is being developed by a Swedish company with the cloying name, Heart Aerospace – which summons images of kumba-ya’ing around the campfire in a collective hug.
But will it fly?
Not with me in it, it won’t. Not ever, not one single time.
It is claimed that the ES-19 will have a range of about 250 miles – which is just barely enough to make the short hop from DC Dulles to a regional airport such as Roanoke, in SW Virginia. With very little margin to spare. What happens if the plane needs to circle, as because of traffic or weather?
Maybe it would be a good idea to equip this one with parachutes rather than flotation devices.
People who know airplanes raise other pertinent questions, such as the drain on the electric airplane’s batteries during taxiing from the terminal to the runway, which as anyone who flies commercially knows sometimes takes half an hour or more. All the while, the heat or AC must be running, in addition to the lights and all the plane’s electrical systems. Does the advertised 250 mile range factor these considerations in?
The FAA nominally requires redundancies and margins-of-error for commercial aircraft especially. It is why, for instance, commercial aircraft that fly over the ocean must be able to remain in the air if one or more engines cut out.
What if the batteries cut out?
Which – it bears repeating – it is more likely to because an electric airplane will necessarily be heavier than a jet-powered airplane because of the massive weight of the batteries that will be necessary to drive electric props sufficiently powerful to get it in the air. But the weight of all those batteries will necessarily reduce the amount of time it can remain in the air.
If it smells of unicorn farts, your nose is working.
Astute commenter Baxter raises a glaringly obvious potential-failure-point issue that leaves one totally mystified as to what the everlasting fuck the Supergenii™ skull-sweating over this fever-dream could possibly be thinking—besides MUH GAIA!!!, that is.
Other things to think about: Batteries suck when it gets cold. Forget an electric car in the winter when it’s 20 degrees F. Planes need to fly high where there is less air friction. Think about a plane (summer or winter, doesn’t matter) at 35,000 feet where it’s 65 degrees below zero F. Plane batteries will obviously need to be heated. Where does that heat come from? The batteries, limiting range even more so.
Obviously, as with the Goobermint-decreed transition from ICE cars to useless, unreliable, and unsafe coal-powered ones, the hidden agenda here is to eventually eliminate flying altogether. Except for the Kommissars, natch. They’ll still carry on as before, just without having to sully themselves with any unpleasant physical proximity to us beastly, smelly serfs in the airport cocktail lounge anymore. The vlasti won’t be replacing their in-flight steak or burger with the new bug-beef they’re foisting off on us proles either, you betcher.