Tech of a New Decade: How Close Are Electric Planes to Becoming a Reality?

When you were younger, you probably dreamed of electric cars, the flying kind. But as an adult, you know flying electric cars is far from a reality. Oh sure, there are electric cars, but they don’t travel anywhere but a regular road. 

If you separate the plane part from the car, you may think an electric airplane can’t be far off. Many people don’t think that a plane can run on electricity like a car, but they would be wrong. 

Small Electric Planes

One of the major focuses of electronic planes is the smaller versions. These may have started out as small electric toy planes, then became drones that fly everywhere, planes can’t reach, but today, there are electronic planes that have room for a pilot and maybe a passenger or two. 

Due to their complexity, and the need for a battery source rather than a fuel source like gasoline, the larger electronic planes will be several more years off in the future. Technology has not caught up with the idea of an electric plane on a large scale. 

Larger Electric Planes

There are a few private companies that are building larger electric planes, ones that could transport up to six passengers or at the most, ten people, including the pilot. However, they are not ready for the public domain as of yet. 

With a larger plane, the need for a larger battery is the key. A larger battery poses problems such as its weight. Some batteries are upwards of 7000 pounds and that in and of itself can be difficult to carry across the sky. 

New Battery Technology

All types of transportation, such as a car or plane, need a battery to operate many of the needed gears that keep the vehicle in motion. However, with an all-electric type plane, the battery would be the biggest part of the engine. It would replace a fuel tank, but the weight would be considerably more. 

One of the newest technology in batteries is the lithium-ion type battery. This is a much lighter weight, power source than a traditional battery. As of yet, this is not an option because the technology hasn’t been perfected yet. It is also an expensive battery to build at the moment.


One of the ways the air transportation industry can begin to utilize electronic aircraft is to go to a hybrid plane. This would be similar to a hybrid car. A hybrid combines the gasoline fuel with the electronic engine. 

This is a much cheaper way to integrate new technologies to get a plane in the air without going full electronic right away. But, this is also a new way of getting a plane in the air and could be a few years off. 

The Future

If you are interested in electric travel by plane, there are several new companies that are always looking for talented employees. Technical school graduates, those who have majored specifically in battery technology, will be at the forefront of electric plane travel.