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Mon, Dec 17, 2018

Elon Musk Says There May Be A Tesla Electric Airplane ... Someday

Says Improvements In Battery Technology Making It More Feasible

Elon Musk has had electric airplanes on his radar since 2009, when he mentioned the concept during a Charles River Ventures CEO Summit. At the time, he said improvements in battery technology are making the concept more feasible as time goes on.

Since then, Musk (pictured) has flirted with the idea off and on, saying in 2015 that his engineers were "dying to do that" and that he had a design "in mind." But last year, Musk said that he has "no plans right now" to move forward with an electric airplane project, according to a story posted on inverse.com.

The battery technology continues to be the major stumbling block, according to Musk. He says that 400 watt-hours per kilogram is the tipping point for a practical electric airplane, and the batteries that currently power a Tesla car check in at 250.

However, Subhash Dhar, the CEO of XALT Energy, predicted in August of 2017 that density is likely to reach that 400 watt-hour benchmark by 2022. Musk has been more bullish on the timeline, saying in a conversation with Tesla investors in 2017 that the company might reach a 500 watt-hour per kilogram density in "four or five years ... maybe half a decade in volume production."

For now, though, battery technology has some time to develop while entrepreneurs work on other big ideas, such as solar energy, stationary storage, and more efficient electric cars, according to the report.

Musk is apparently focusing more on larger passenger aircraft rather than small, eVTOL "flying taxis". Musk has long been skeptical of the flying car concept, as well as proposals such as Uber Elevate, according to the report.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report

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