Tesla's CEO Elon Musk began discussing the potential of electric aircraft, which he believes could be viable in about 5 years.
Could a Tesla aircraft be in Musk's plans?
We are already starting to see electric flight programs such as the Pipistrel Alpha Electro all-electric planet and Siemens and Magnus & eFusion, but battery technology still needs to be improved to have commercial aircraft that we have today.
] Musk has long talked about all modes of transport that go electric at some point – except rockets.
Several years ago, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX said he had a design for electric vertical launch and landing (VTOL), but he has never made plans to bring the aircraft into production.
Musk said that the energy density of batteries needs to be improved.
This weekend, Musk updated his expected energy density timeline to improve enough to enable battery powered aircraft:
Yes, but still a little too limited in range. It will change in the coming years, as the battery drift density improves.
̵[ads1]1; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 29, 2019
Musk explains that jet fuel beats batteries when it comes to energy density, but efficiency gains mean you don't need that much energetic potential:
"Jet A ( paraffin) has much higher energy density than Li-ion, but electric motors weigh much less and convert stored energy to motion better than internal combustion engines. "  When he revealed that he had a design for an electric VTOL aircraft, Musk assumed that Li-Ion batteries would need to achieve an energy of 400 Wh / kg for the batteries to turn paraffin and his electric aircraft to be viable. 19659002] Today, battery cells with high cycles achieve about 300 Wh / kg energy density.
Do you think Tesla will expand to electric aircraft?
Over the past few years I have seen a surprising number of companies uncovering eVTOL flight designs and even a few work prototypes.
There has been a lot of money flowing to the startups that are developing these vehicles.
It appears that they have developed all the subsystems they need to build such an aircraft to be ready when battery technology can pick up.
Tesla is definitely at the forefront of battery technology, and it can be an interesting new industry for the company, but I doubt it would happen.
The car manufacturer might eventually deliver battery cells or battery packs to the electric aircraft, but I doubt Tesla would be involved more than that.
Although it can be an interesting project that combines expertise in aviation and batteries in Musk's two largest companies, SpaceX and Tesla.
Regardless, if battery power density improves by over 30 percent over the next 5 years, it will not only potentially lead to commercial electric aircraft, but it would also affect Tesla's cars and other electric vehicles, which makes EVs cheaper, lighter and with the potential for longer range.
Highlighted image: Eviation Aircraft prototype – A new all-electric aircraft with a range up to 600 miles revealed on the Paris Air Show
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