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Thread: E-Cub

  1. #1

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    E-Cub

    What with the steady advance of electric motor design and battery storage efficiency, can any of you see opting for an electric powered SuperCub?

    Many of us have already chosen to go the experimental route, so what do you all foresee as the pros and cons of hanging an electric powerplant up front and what specific developments will you need to see before you make the jump?

  2. #2

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    I see a few issue currently.......mostly due to battery density/weight vs. power available. I think it will get done but you will never get to fly a 'light' electric airplane

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    Depends on mission, I think they would make great trainers. It might just be the ticket for saving airports from the noise issue. Perfect for 1 hr sight seeing tours also.
    DENNY

  4. #4

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    I ran across this video and thought if they can do it right now with a Beaver or Caravan, how long can it be before we see enough technological advancements to make it practical and economical for use in our small aircraft.

    Does anyone know how much the battery in a Tesla weighs? How much energy does current battery technology provide per pound? Full 60 gallon Atlee tanks could be replaced with about 400 pounds of batteries. Could a small gasoline driven generator be combined with an external free air wind-driven generator to provide recharging capability both on the ground and in the air?

    https://youtu.be/FjsKq5Bf1Dk


    And wouldn’t it be great to poke holes in the sky without having to worry whether avgas pumps in remote areas will be empty, turned off, or if avgas becomes just too expensive to buy.

  5. #5

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    The battery in a Tesla is around 1200#.
    I have not looked recently, is that electric Beaver in service now? last I knew it had about 4k# of batteries in it and was far from ready for duty.

    The battery in cars are nowhere near the problem as a plane would have. A car a 60mph barely needs any power compared to the power needs of a plane. Plus we are a long way from charging stations at airports.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

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    Probably happen someday. Right now I can't imagine it would be handy at the cabin on a -20F morning though!
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  7. #7
    mvivion's Avatar
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    My understanding of that electric Beaver (a proof of concept) is that, with batteries and a pilot in the airplane, it was very near legal gross weight. Look at the water line on those floats, which I believe are probably EDO 4930s. Looks to me they're close to gross in the video, which is just pilot and "fuel".

    They also pointed out that the battery in that plane was good for about an hour of flight. That'd get them to and from a close destination, but what a lot of folks fail to consider: After that one hour of flight, that airplane is going to have to be plugged into a power source and re-charge its battery. So, plane is out of service for how long, while it's recharging???

    Better battery technology is obviously necessary for this to become even vaguely practical, but battery technology has been improving remarkably in the last ten years or so. So...who knows?

    Finally, though, it seems that a lot of folks tend to forget that the battery in that airplane is still going to require charging by some other source of power....like coal, hydropower, nuclear, etc. So, the operator can pride himself that he's reduced pollution.....in HIS neighborhood.

    MTV

    MTV

  8. #8
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    . . . the battery in that airplane is still going to require charging by some other source of power....like coal, hydropower, nuclear, etc.

    MTV

    MTV
    Gasp!?!?

    LOL. Right now it's pretty much a weight issue. Like Mike pointed out, those batteries weigh a lot. Then look at the weight of a 5 HP electric motor compared to the weight of a 5 HP gasoline engine. Until the weight of a battery pack can come down enough to give a reasonable load in a proven airframe I just can't see it happening. To be a viable trainer, you'd have to be able to carry two pilots for at least a couple of hours. Someone a while back put out the idea of removable battery packs. That would at least solve the recharge issue.

    But, the torque available on some types of motors make it tempting. Bottom line, electric, gas, or kerosene, it still has to make reasonable range, load, 'refuel' specs before most will consider it.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  9. #9
    Colorguns's Avatar
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    How did Lindbergh make it over the ocean? How much fuel did he have to carry to do it? Was there other options in the plane that allowed him to get there?

  10. #10
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Another thing to consider with electric vs gas; When you take off with a full load of gas/kerosene you get lighter as you use fuel. A depleted battery weighs the same as a fully charged one.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  11. #11

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    Across the pond, England that is, are a few very high performance electric track cars. These are AWD with separate motors each corner. Each side of the car between wheels is all batteries, a few tons worth.
    Depending on the track the car will run a 20 min session, come in and a crew will swap battery packs and all tires and brakes, once the motors and controllers cool it can run another session. Multiple battery sets make it at least worth the travel to a track.
    The cars have computer controlled variable torque to each wheel with regenerative braking. Performance, they make $900K performance petrol cars look like a slug.
    Granted each car needs it's own semi rig to haul one car, the multiple battery sets and the diesel generator to recharge such massive batteries.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  12. #12

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    I had a chance to look at this last year, it is a pretty slick plane. https://www.pipistrel-aircraft.com/a...alpha-electro/
    DENNY

  13. #13

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    Great responses!!! So far none of you have expressed serious reservations about switching over to electric motors in the future if and when the battery power and energy storage problems get worked out. That’s assuming the price is kept in line

    There are lots of cool videos online about the status and progress of e-planes. Some of the videos are “older,” (3 months) and a lot of advancement can happen in just a couple weeks. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    https://youtu.be/fmlfg-74m3U
    https://youtu.be/FRP_bCkE9K8p
    https://youtu.be/r2hh_ni-vF4
    https://youtu.be/vIM3pgxHVIM
    https://youtu.be/0UoFNIxF09k
    https://youtu.be/Hn2JJH6-uAM

    If I was wealthier, smarter and in better health, I would be vying for a front row purchase position on a 250 HP, constant speed, wide-bodied SuperCub or Cruiser.

    For all you visionaries out there, this is the ground floor for investment opportunities.

  14. #14

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    I had a very serious look into creating an stc package to convert a 172 to electric. At the end of the day we could not make the energy density work. It will take a significant jump in battery technology to make it feasible. I think it will get there but it’s going to be a few years at least.

  15. #15
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    Imagine the environmental disaster all the expired batteries from cars and airplanes in the future is going to cause. How much energy and resources does it take to recycle these batteries? How much waste is generated recycling these batteries? Is any of that waste toxic? Where does that go and how is that disposed of? Where are the precious metals going to come from to manufacture these batteries?

    I’m all for clean renewable sources of energy but these questions need to be asked and answered.

    I think the best thing we could do now in the short term is come up with a suitable replacement for 100LL that gets the lead out of the fuel. If it were easy it would have been done long ago.

    Kurt

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by G44 View Post
    Where are the precious metals going to come from to manufacture these batteries?
    Yup......the stories out of the mining and extracting cobalt are pretty unsustainable.
    https://www.designnews.com/electroni...balt-batteries

  17. #17
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    The fishing is great in southern Nunavut. Are there any refueling stations in or nearby? I can just visualize the pile of expired batteries next to the 3 wheelers and snowmobiles in and around the native villages.

    How well do generators work when mounted on the electric motors? Will an efficient wind driven generator supply enough juice to keep the batteries charged?

    Will there be recharging stations available in the Bahamian out islands for winter vacation trips?

    Just a few thoughts which would need to be answered for the uses which I would need answered for my airplane. I do like the reduction of weight as I consume fuel. It does take a certain amount of extra fuel to carry the fuel.
    N1PA
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  18. #18
    courierguy's Avatar
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    Don't hold your breath. A barn door could be made to fly with e power, doesn't mean it's practical. Local, maybe training, makes sense. Bush application would be the worst, not in our lifetime. I assume the statements about a wind generater to help recharge the battery is sarcasm, why not 2 or 3 of them ?
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  19. #19

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    There have been a bunch of electric self launching sailplanes built. With all sorts of problems, including fire. It isn't going to happen in a practical sense for a long time, if ever.

  20. #20

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    Almost every locomotive and heavy mining truck we’ve seen is electric. They have big diesels on board to produce the electricity. For application of torque electric wins. How to apply that to an airplane? Given how some guys build contest airplanes for STOL events, I won’t be surprised to see a short duration, high torque, light weight electric motor in a STOL plane. For conventional use the future of electric powered vehicles is in battery technology’s court. The other way to make it work will be to have a small engine spinning an alternator that can supply adequate juice. There’s big money to be made. Somebody will figure it out.

  21. #21
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    There’s big money to be made. Somebody will figure it out.
    Agreed that a hybrid of some sort MAY be made practical at some point, but in little airplanes??

    And, there has never been "big money to be made" in general aviation aircraft. A number of companies have proven that over the years.

    The big money is in turbine equipment, not Beavers.....

    MTV

    MTV

  22. #22

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    The big money is in deveopment. Crafty guys will figure out applications. There's no economy in buying $50K Lycomings!

  23. #23
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    bicycle mechanics built the Wright Flyer in 1903.

    I have an electric assisted Fat tire mountain bicycle.

    Also, now readily available, are electric powered radio control airplanes with far more power than the gas and glow-fuel engines of the past.

    The elec-bike and rc airplanes have been great for the last 10 or 15 years, since Lithium Polymer technology. And we now use the 18650 LiIon cells that Tesla has in so many vehicles.

    But having been involved in this stuff, and Cubs, and Beavers, I dont see a practical elec-Bushplane.

    Sailplane? yes. “ultralite”? yes. Around the patch 1 hour duration trainer? yes.

    SupEcub? naw! Not ever
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  24. #24
    courierguy's Avatar
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    Live off grid for a few decades, like I did, to really get a full appreciation of the energy density of a gallon of gas. Now grid tied, and going into winter with a 10,000 KWH surplus/credit, which I'll use maybe 2/3 of by spring, when it starts building again, giving me an excess of free electricity, I still don't drive a EV. I came real close to buying a heavy Bolt a few weeks ago, but pulled back at the last minute, too many drawbacks. I'd still need a road trip car, and there goes any savings.
    What's possible v. what's practical, two different things.

  25. #25

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    This website will be around a lot longer than I will. It may be interesting for you youngsters to look back on this thread in 2030 or 2040 to see what technology has done to the small GA segment.

    I believe electric is coming for GA. And that it will be here sooner rather than later. But, then again, I’m frequently wrong.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorguns View Post
    How did Lindbergh make it over the ocean? How much fuel did he have to carry to do it? Was there other options in the plane that allowed him to get there?
    Again, HOW MUCH FUEL WAS NEEDED???

    Honest question I think?

    How many hours flown at what speed and fuel burn? I do not know but what to understand this problem. How much fuel was needed to get over?

  27. #27
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    Approximately 450 gallon capacity. Claim was about 10 miles to the gallon. That's about all I can find at the moment. I do remember reading that he had enough fuel on board over Paris, that he considered flying on to Rome.

    Web
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    Thanks Colorguns thanked for this post

  28. #28
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    E-Cub

    Bearhawk Builder Dave Lenart likely knows more but rumor was Bob Barrows was working on a creation with current technology to see how an electric LSA would work.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Bearhawk Builder Dave Lenart likely knows more but rumor was Bob Barrows was working on a creation with current technology to see how an electric LSA would work.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    Bearhawkforums.com keeps an eye on Bob's electric ultralight design. Here is a recent video with an update.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOAf...ature=youtu.be

  30. #30

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    Web is correct, 450 gallons on board at take off from New York by Lindbergh. Pretty impressive on 225 HP! Donald Hall, designer, calculated speeds and fuel burns as the weight of the airplane slowly was reduced by fuel burn and rpms could be lowered. If I remember correctly at first hour or two he was at pretty hi power setting burning about 16 gph but at end of flight (over a ton lighter) he was burning only about 9 gph. I am trying to find exact info on the internet now and will post if I can find it.
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  31. #31
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  32. #32
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Glenn, that bolt on chevy small block replacement elec is very cool. And expensive. And powering it will be a ton of batteries

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