A New Perspective on Battery-Electric Aviation, Part I: Reassessment of Achievable Range

Rob E. Wolleswinkel, R. de Vries, M.F.M. Hoogreef, Roelof Vos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Thus far, battery-electric propulsion has not been considered a promising pathway to climate-neutral aviation. Given current and expected battery technology, in most literature battery-electric aircraft are only considered feasible for short ranges (< 400 km) and small payloads (< 19 pax). As a result, battery-electric aircraft development focuses on new aviation segments such as regional and urban air mobility. However, little effort has been made to develop battery-electric aircraft that can replace existing larger aircraft. This paper re-examines the assumptions that lead to the conclusion of limited applicability of battery-electric aircraft. Starting from the range equation, this paper assesses the drivers of two key parameters: the ratio between energy mass and maximum take-off mass, and the maximum lift-to-drag ratio. This assessment, based on Class-I mass and aerodynamic-efficiency estimates, shows that there is a design space where these two parameters can reach significantly higher values than often assumed in the open literature. Based on this finding, several parametric aircraft designs are evaluated, relying on Class-II mass and aerodynamics methods. These parametric studies validate the conclusion from the Class-I assessment. This implies that battery-electric passenger aircraft can play a larger role in climate-neutral aviation than was previously envisioned.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the AIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-711-5
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventAIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum - Orlando, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 202412 Jan 2024


ConferenceAIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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