A new jump in electric flight

Although we can’t predict improvements in battery technology with Moore’s Law-style regularity, it’s very clear that technological advancements are making it easier and cheaper to store larger amounts of energy using increasingly lighter materials. This is great news for rooftop solar, utility-scale renewable energy, and electric cars. It’s also great, it turns out, for some less obvious applications, like the electric airplane.

  Chip Yates’ electric plane can keep up with gas-powered competitors. Yates Electrospace Corporation photo

Chip Yates’ electric plane can keep up with gas-powered competitors. Yates Electrospace Corporation photo

 

Last week pilot and airplane tinkerer Chip Yates was officially recognized for having set five world records for electric planes. He flies a highly modified 258 horsepower Rutan Long-EZ. With a top speed of 220 mph, his Rutan Long is now the fastest electric plane on the planet.