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· Registered
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This was true before the Model 3 because the battery system didn't have the active cooling capacity to dissipate the heat. It simply wasn't on the list of features they optimized for and surprisingly it wasn't even the batteries performance directly, but the fire protection system which limited the performance. However with the massive advancements they kept making, the 3's battery has been substantially redesigned to handle this kind of scenario. The Model S Plaid, and the Porsche Taycon are also just as track capable.

Nascar races usually get 100 miles or so per pitstop, which makes the range within the car's capabilities. There is of course still the um.. lets say significant difference in 'fueling' time. If you're talking about the 'ring as the Nurburgring, then the Taycon has records and the Plaid S already is unofficially playing with lap records there.
I bet they can't beat my Suzuki Escudo "Pike's Peak Edition" from Gran Turismo 2 though...
 

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Pretty much the bold bit. The energy density of batteries is still a couple of orders of magnitude short of jet fuel, nowhere near enough to power a large plane for long. From Science Direct:



One other drawback is that planes get lighter as they burn fuel, extending their range, whereas batteries maintain the same weight throughout the flight.
Looking for that liquid hydrogen breakthrough please.
 

· Invalid Media
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11,404 Posts
Looking for that liquid hydrogen breakthrough please.

...that would be nice, not least as the universe seems to run on hydrogen...besides it would work in our regular combustion engines after only a minor fuel-line and compression change.

But apart from producing it in liquid state, there's the -423 F storage requirement, ie. via 13+ atmosphere pressures. I rather not pull up to a filling station with the proverbial absent-minded little old lady/gent having a smoke on the next pump, or a teen incessantly on their cell phone. Think 'Hindenburg' zeppelin...
 

· professional curmudgeon
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wouldn't ya know i just put in a bid :mad:

 

· LTSC for life crew
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6,701 Posts
...that would be nice, not least as the universe seems to run on hydrogen...besides it would work in our regular combustion engines after only a minor fuel-line and compression change.

But apart from producing it in liquid state, there's the -423 F storage requirement, ie. via 13+ atmosphere pressures. I rather not pull up to a filling station with the proverbial absent-minded little old lady/gent having a smoke on the next pump, or a teen incessantly on their cell phone. Think 'Hindenburg' zeppelin...
I have a home hydrogen production setup. You can even weld with hydrogen if you were so inclined :)

You can reasonably easily convert a liquid propane BBQ grill to run on hydrogen if you are curious. The only issue becomes sourcing enough hydrogen. And of course hydrogen likes to escape just about any container you have it in.

The troubles with burning it are many, however. And any metals situated around burning hydrogen tend to get pitted and brittle, and then break in short order. Pistons + cylinder heads + cylinder walls + piston rings would need to be remade from a different alloy in order to survive long term.
 

· Invalid Media
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I have a home hydrogen production setup. You can even weld with hydrogen if you were so inclined :)

You can reasonably easily convert a liquid propane BBQ grill to run on hydrogen if you are curious. The only issue becomes sourcing enough hydrogen. And of course hydrogen likes to escape just about any container you have it in.

The troubles with burning it are many, however. And any metals situated around burning hydrogen tend to get pitted and brittle, and then break in short order. Pistons + cylinder heads + cylinder walls + piston rings would need to be remade from a different alloy in order to survive long term.

...yeah, 'in principle', hydrogen fuel works great, though there are various 'buts' in terms of both raw fuel production /storage / delivery / infrastructure, as well as some compatibility issues & reliability as you state. Without straying too far from the original OP, around the turn of the last century, steam and battery powered cars were actually ahead of combustion-engine cars in terms of sales - but then Standard Oil happened, exploiting the advantages (minus environmental externalities) of the energy density of gasoline - and a gas station in even many smaller hamlets plus Model T did the rest...

A case in point would be the Lohner Porsches around 1900 - 1905...one pure battery, the other one a hybrid...in its most advanced form, four electric motors (one per wheel hub, see spoiler)...sounds all very modern, but the damn thing apparently weighed close to four tons with only rudimentary brakes and no power steering...obviously, secure and clean energy source provision and infrastructure all were a century late...

But to bring it back to Harbour Air and its electric sea plane per OP; this is exactly what is needed: ...relatively safe (re. emergency) short-distance, low-altitude flights in nasty weather (!), collecting somewhat 'big(gish) data' so that the next steps of commercialization of electric propulsion in air travel can proceed. This needs more than just a few prototypes way ahead of their time, this needs commercial use-cases...and data

 

· Vermin Supreme 2020
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39,546 Posts
bet you can't beat my real pike's peak time. i go twice a year for 420 and burro days.

all it sounds like is RC on steroids, which is essentially all it is = orgasmic sounds.
 

· Eastern Bloc Electronics
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5,599 Posts
Electric planes are kind of pointless.

If you are going to make one or two trips per day then fine.

But most planes need to earn money. The more they are up in the air the more they earn.
Plane sitting on the ground is not earning any money.
So charging times are an huge issue.

Also there goes the weight problem.

For boats or cars it's not a big deal.
But for planes it is a big problem.
More weight means more energy required to stay in the air and less cargo.
Not only that.
On a conventional plane it starts heavy and lands with less mass.
If the landing mass is too high (say an emergency happens and they have to land shortly after takeoff) then they have to dump fuel.
Battery weight stays the same the whole time.
Dumping the cargo beforehand would be an idea. But it would work only for stuff that can handle such treatment.

It's not only a problem of energy density but also a problem of how batteries work compared to fuel.

There's also another problem.
Up in the air the temperature is far lower, even during summertime.
Jets experience temperatures around -50°C/-60°F.

Inefficient engines have plenty of spare heat to share.
It does plenty of work.
Heating oil,fuel and you, the passenger.
Turbofan engine also does the work of making the cabin pressurized.

For short routes those problems disaapear to some extent.
Lower altitude means no pressurization required.
And temperatures are higher, though still lower than ground.

Batteries don't like cold (lower capacity) so there goes another addition to the stack of problems.
 

· Robotic Chemist
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4,480 Posts
Yes, airplanes are one place hydrocarbons are simply too much better. Even if we go 100% renewable carbon neutral we will want to use biosourced or nuclear derived hydrocarbons for planes. They are the last place we should try to electrify. However, even if we had magic batteries that could store that much energy, did not mind cold or heated themselves, etc. they would do very scary things in a crash. Jet fuel is amazingly safe given how much energy is stored in it. If you think a current lithium battery was scary when it gets damaged imagine one with almost 10x the energy density, or nearly twice what TNT stores per mass.

I say we go all in on fusion with newly commercialized high temperature superconductors. Something like Apollo or the Manhattan project. We finally have factories producing HTS in useful amounts and they could easily be scaled up if someone ordered 200,000 km of superconducting tape. HTS is game changing for fusion. Not because it works at a higher temperature but because it stays superconducting in much stronger magnetic fields at the same temperature. Then we use that nearly free power to create jet fuel from CO2 and water. We will probably need to keep using fossil fuels for commercial air travel until then. :p
 

· Spaghetti
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1,115 Posts
This was true before the Model 3 because the battery system didn't have the active cooling capacity to dissipate the heat. It simply wasn't on the list of features they optimized for and surprisingly it wasn't even the batteries performance directly, but the fire protection system which limited the performance. However with the massive advancements they kept making, the 3's battery has been substantially redesigned to handle this kind of scenario. The Model S Plaid, and the Porsche Taycon are also just as track capable.

Nascar races usually get 100 miles or so per pitstop, which makes the range within the car's capabilities. There is of course still the um.. lets say significant difference in 'fueling' time. If you're talking about the 'ring as the Nurburgring, then the Taycon has records and the Plaid S already is unofficially playing with lap records there.
Hot-swappable batteries are entirely possible
 

· Vermin Supreme 2020
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39,546 Posts
it 100% needs to happen. Who'ever masters that, along with the proper network to support it is gonna kill. Even once cells hit 500 miles. Pull in, jack up, switch out, lower, leave, win :D
 

· Head Smeghead of OCN
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3,208 Posts
I'd be worried about it myself - Not that it's a bad idea but there are some things to consider.
It's common for aircraft to encounter bad weather while in flight and sometimes means being affected hit by lightning.
All it takes is for it to damage that little something and it's all over.

We've seen how finiky electronics can be under certain conditions such as what happened a few years ago with those Camry's that suddenly went from whatever to "Lets' go" mode with no way to bring it back under control. If it's computer controlled (And would be these days) that glitch someone missed and you're in it deep whether it's engine, flap landing gear or whatever - It's all vulnerable and even just software errors have causes crashes to happen before with the expected lethal results. I know those in use today are vulnerable too but at least the primary source of power isn't based on electricity alone.

I'm just saying here it's not all good or perfect - We're still years if not decades away from this becoming the dominant means of propulsion for aircraft if it happens at all.
 

· D'ya like onions?
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57,357 Posts
I'd be worried about it myself - Not that it's a bad idea but there are some things to consider.
It's common for aircraft to encounter bad weather while in flight and sometimes means being affected hit by lightning.
All it takes is for it to damage that little something and it's all over.

We've seen how finiky electronics can be under certain conditions such as what happened a few years ago with those Camry's that suddenly went from whatever to "Lets' go" mode with no way to bring it back under control. If it's computer controlled (And would be these days) that glitch someone missed and you're in it deep whether it's engine, flap landing gear or whatever - It's all vulnerable and even just software errors have causes crashes to happen before with the expected lethal results. I know those in use today are vulnerable too but at least the primary source of power isn't based on electricity alone.

I'm just saying here it's not all good or perfect - We're still years if not decades away from this becoming the dominant means of propulsion for aircraft if it happens at all.

100% of those unintended acceleration problems those Toyotas had turned out to be user error or pre-mature wear on hardware. Usually a floor mat holding the accelerator down or the pedal mechanism not returning the pedal back to 0 throttle. It had nothing to do with electronics at all. The way to bring both back to control was to either move the floor mat so it was no longer covering the throttle pedal or to jam your foot under the throttle pedal and manually pull it out.


Software errors also don't cause plane crashes. Maybe they used to, I'm not sure, but they don't any more. Aircraft, especially commercial aircraft have far more failsafes than a car. The body of the planes also act as Faraday cages so that they're safe from lightning strikes. Planes these days are almost 100% electronically controlled and there has been only 1 recorded incident of a plane crashing/being forced to land because of the electronics failing in the last 10 years and the plane involved was Russian plane designed in the 1960s and built in 1990. Not exactly peak electronic safety even at the best of times.


The two incidents of "software errors" causing the two 737 Maxs to crash both turned out to be pilot error. Both as a result of lack of training before being allowed to fly. On Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, the pilots switched off autopilot around 5 minutes before losing control resulting in the crash. Lion Air Flight 610 is a similar story. The auto trim was switched off (because of a software error) but the crash itself was caused by the pilots having no idea what to do with the auto trim being switched off. Neither airlines companies have a very good track record of safety either.
 

· Head Smeghead of OCN
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3,208 Posts
Actually there are at least a couple of instances with software causing a crash: https://www.forbes.com/sites/taylor...e-glitch-takes-down-an-airliner/#239f4fe87b1d

Sometimes it's really not a glitch so much as it's something the programmers simply didn't know about to include in the software's programming.
It is true pilots have to be trained for such, that only makes common sense.
There was another thing I saw too about how complex aircraft have become over time, that in itself a factor as well - You could say it goes back to training but there is also a limit to just how much a person can manage too, even with training.

And yes, I've worked on autos and electrically controlled vehicles and there are things like sensors that can fail/glitch due to wear, defect or whatever else causing such to occur.
Sensors whether they control speed, air/fuel mix, display readings on engine temps and so on will eventually fail, I mean there is a reason why replacement parts are available in the first place.

Can't tell you how many times I had to replace a speed sensor that tells the controller how much voltage to send to something such as the electric drive motor of a vehicle for example. If the computer/controller gets the wrong input from the sensor based on what actually required at that time then you've got a problem, regardless of root cause.

Try chasing an electric pallet jack (Walkie) through a store going full speed on it's own plowing through displays and such - It happened and I lived it.

Not to mention as point of fact we're always hearing about factory "Recalls" over issues, some electronic in nature which to an extent causes me to doubt the cause of those Camry's doing that as 100% the driver's fault everytime - Probrably 95% but not 100% as said.

If anything at all I've learned working with electricity over the years is that electricity itself can do some weird stuff and that includes systems such as these being affected.
Never take what it's "Supposed to do" for granted.
 

· Vermin Supreme 2020
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39,546 Posts
yes, it's call the military. I'd assume they still get the newest stuff first.
 
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