The weight balance is maintained thanks to the weight of the gas Lycoming engine that weighs 400 pounds, and full tank of gas at some 300 pounds. This about balances the 6-700 pound Li-Ion battery pack. No word on the range since a 700 pound battery pack contains perhaps 1 gallon of gas energy equivalent.
The electric Cessna is powered by a 125 kW (167 hp) 240-430 Volt DC motor. This compares well to the 180hp motor of gas versions. This motor results in an operating cost of about $5.00 to $10.00 an hour based on $0.10 per kWh. This compares well to $55 per hour for the conventional plane.
If you can't afford the electric Cessna 172, there is always the model replica Cessna 182. The model can go 50mph and can take off and land all over the place.
A few more current eplanes are listed:
Skyspak is a compact eplane that runs on a 75kW (101hp) motor powered by an Li-Ion battery pack. The plane hit a record 155mph/250kph speed in June 2009.
The European aerospace company EADS has developed an electric version of the Cri-Cri Ultralight. The plane is designed for performance with a top speed of 156mph/250kph, a climb rate of 1,000 feet per minute, and 30 minutes of cruising at 70mph/111kph. This flying EV is a test plane for flying EV technologies.
The Elektra One tips the scales at a mere 264 pounds and is powered by a likewise small 16kW (peak power) motor and can fly for 3 hours at 75mph/120kph. The plane can only carry up to 164 pounds though. On the plus side, the Elektra One carries enough solar panel area to provide an estimated 300 hours of yearly flying time.
all-electric, single-seat airplane at Aero 2010 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The 120 kg (264 lbs) composite airplane is powered by a 16 kW (peak) electric motor and has an operational endurance of up to 3 hours at 120 kph. Its wingspan is 8.6 meters (28 ft) and it has an effective payload of 90 kg (164 lbs).
The US Air Force has secured a contract for the development of advanced design Li-Ion batteries. The batteries will be used to power its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
Like EV battery researchers, the Air Force seeks lightweight, high energy density batteries to power their aircraft. Like EV battery researchers, the USAF and
partners are also looking into the use of nano materials to achieve the goals.
Electric powered airplane enthusiasts are currently flying under experimental guidance.
That may change as recent standards are reviewed and implemented. The ASTM International's light sport aircraft committee F2840 standards for electric-powered
aircraft may soon become the basis for rules and regs governing eplanes.
Like the electric car, the electric powered airplane has a long history. Until now, the eplane has been restricted to mostly experimental or model type aircraft. With the advent of improved battery technology and composites, the eplane is headed more mainstream as companies like Cessna work on commercial versions based on the Li-Ion battery.
Cessna manufactures some of the most successful private aircraft ever. Now the company is hammering metal for the electric Cessna 172. The plane may be built in a hybrid version as well. One of the interesting features of the electric 172 will be solar panels on the wing.
The electric version of the ever popular plane is very similar to the gas powered version except for the electric motor, battery pack, and 12% reduced drag. The ECessna does without the protruding intakes of the gas plane, which makes it more streamlined and reduces drag. The plane weighs in at around 1,300 pounds empty. This is close to some of the gas powered versions at 1,400 pounds.