Electric flight is coming, but the batteries aren’t ready

Could energy storage technology improve significantly in the future? It is possible with battery energy density rising by 5 to 8 percent per year. For batteries to be at a point where they make sense in small-scale aviation, they will need to achieve about five times their current density. At the current pace of battery and electric engine technology, it probably won’t be until 2030 that even hybrid electric technology is used in commercial aviation.

“Hybrid technology is far more promising” than purely battery-electric aircraft, said aviation expert Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, an aerospace market research firm. “Hybrid technology is a far more realistic goal, and it might be feasible in the 2030s.”

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