With less than one month to go until Tesla’s highly anticipated Battery Day event, CEO Elon Musk has suggested his company is close to developing a battery that would be big enough to power a plane.
Responding to Sam Korus, an analyst at ARK Investment Management, who was discussing why Musk has previously shown a lot of interest in an electric plane, the CEO said a combination of more energy density along with high life cycle was less than 5 years away.
400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 24, 2020
A battery with 400Wh/kg would be about a 50% improvement from the current energy density in Tesla’s batteries, estimated at around 260Wh/kg (via Reuters).
Panasonic has already announced it has plans to increase the density of the batteries it supplies to Tesla by as much as 20% in the next five years.
Even though Tesla has no immediate plans to develop an electric plane, there are some which have already taken flight. Late last year Harbour Air took the honour of the world’s first commercial electric flight with a test flight of their electric seaplane powered by magniX. MagniX was also involved in another test flight in May, which was the first successful flight of the world’s largest electric plane.