After the Electric Car, the Electric Plane? Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is Thinking About It


Not Just Any Old Electric Plane... A Supersonic Electric Plane
Techcrunch has an intriguing interview with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He briefly talks about an interest in nuclear fusion, but also speculates about a supersonic electric plane. The video of the interview above has pretty bad sound, but there's a transcript below.Here's the transcript (via Techcrunch):

Zachary: What will you do next-will you stay inside the three areas

Musk: I don’t think I’ll go outside of the three areas. There’s a [inaudible] on the sustainable energy front. I have an idea for an electric plane and really one that you can go suspersonic in. And then it would be interesting to take a look at fusion. That’s a really tough problem.

Zachary: So that should keep you busy for awhile.

Arrington: I want hear more about the electric plane that you brought up really early on in the talk and how realistic that is from a technology standpoint and from a new startup standpoint possibly. Is it possibe technically to do that in an interesting way. Seems like a lot of batteries.

Musk: It’s a lot of batteries.Technically an electric plane gets more feasible as battery energy improves. It’s definitely feasible right now. Its just a questions of the range . . . You have to have energy density for a global plane. Basically, the electrocarrier as it functions for a plane has to be very high and then ultimately, it’s how you really use the fact that you have an electric motor driving the plane as opposed to a jet engine which is taking [inaudible]. You have to design a plane differently to deal with . . . its an interesting configuration of what you can do with vertical takeoff and landing angles with the design. It’s a tricky problem. I try not to think about because I have too much to think about.

It certainly would be a huge engineering challenge, but it wouldn't be the first time that someone that sounds impossible at first turns out to be possible once enough technical breakthroughs have happened. We'll have to be patient to see if that one happens or not...

via Techcrunch
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