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Will eVTOLs take over the commercial small-helicopter market?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by voyager, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. voyager

    voyager Member

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    Since the UBER Elevate Summit in April this year, more OEMs said they would develop eVTOLs, aircraft that can take off and land vertically and that use electric power. Among them AgustaWestland, Aurora, Airbus. Embraer. The argument for eVTOLs is as follows.

    1. If aviation authorities will allow parcel delivery drones, why not beef-up the rotors and airlift passengers? Electric rotor technology is constantly evolving (already past the 5 kW per 1 kg own weight threshold), so are lightweighting and battery technology.

    2. If we expect cars to ‘2D-maneuver’ autonomously through dense city traffic... then it should be less of a problem to have rotor-equipped vehicles auto-pilot themselves through the air, where there’s lots of 3D space to maneuver.

    3. eVTOLs are safer than ICE-propelled helicopters. They are less complex, have less mechanical parts, have no variable propeller settings (like a helicopter has).

    4. Change of regulations is up to aviation authorities of course. Adapting them will work as an enabler of one of the most exciting, new industries (same with developing self-driving cars). Generally, governments don't want to miss out on them.

    [​IMG]
    What say you?
     
  2. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    Batteries still have a long way to go before being competitive with liquid fueled air vehicles. This technology is also evolving rather slowly, consider that the S still has almost the same batteries as it did at launch, 5 years ago.

    This is not simpler, it is actually vastly more complex. More space means there is a greater possibility of finding a vaiable path, but it also means you now need to observe and plan in three dimensions instead of just two.

    They are not less complex, the complexity has just moved from hardware to software. Traditional helicopters can be, and for a long time were flown with no software at all. All that hardware may be complex, but it has been around for half a century and is well understood.

    This is probably the biggest hurdle. Aviation authorities are very slow to change. Just look at the difficulties the 609 has had in getting certified, and its not nearly as drastic a change.
     
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  3. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Those "almost the same" batteries store 17% more energy, charge 33% faster, provide lots more power, and cost significantly less, while still fitting into the same box and weight.
     
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  4. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    Not sure where you are getting those numbers. The only improvement in the S/X batteries was the 85->90 which is a 6% increase in capacity. There also appears to be some limitation to durability of fast charging these new cells. The 100 packs use the same cells, just more of them packed tighter due to improved cooling design.

    (Note: The numbers are slightly different if you use actual usable capacities, instead of the BS nameplate ratings that Tesla give them.)
     
  5. voyager

    voyager Member

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  6. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I can believe that hybrid aircraft that use electric power to augment takeoffs make sense. Flying heavy vehicles in built up areas I can't believe.

    Aircraft are subject to far more forces than cars. Cross winds, while annoying in a car, can be catastrophic for an aircraft moving slowly near the ground.
     
  7. voyager

    voyager Member

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    Here are the eVTOL craft that are being developed.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    Willing to bet we'll see a Raptor before we ever see one of these...
     
  9. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    Companies may attempt to bring those things to market ... but when people actually experience the reality (constant annoying noise, and the occasional evtol falling out of the sky onto their heads or houses) they will raise such a legal shitstorm those things won't be any more widespread than helicopters are now.
     
  10. voyager

    voyager Member

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    There are all sorts of ways to reduce the noise level, may well be lower than a 'chopper'. To begin with, use so-called shrouded props, propellers that have some sort of nacelle built around it. This has the added benefit of ducting the airstream. Hence, electric motors are (way) more dependable than ICEs... One of Tesla's selling arguments.
     

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