Elon Musk on Electric Aircraft and VTOL
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Elon Musk on Electric Aircraft and VTOL

August 30, 2019

I do think there’s a really… Like, I think
the optimal air transport solution is VTOL electric supersonic plane. And it actually
works together quite well for a bunch of reasons. In particluar: the higher you go the better
the electric, the more efficient the electric aircraft is, whereas if you have
a combustion aircraft, as you get higher it tends to get worse, cause you have
kind of a fixed aperture and like the engine is, the hull in the part of the engine is
a fixed size. So you have to pick a particular cruising altitude and so you gotta
figure out how do you get the right amount of air at sea level all the way through
really high altitude. And then you’ve got this whole issue of supersonic combustion
that – you know, having to slow down the air down and it ends up being not that efficient.
But electric aircraft would just get better and better as it got higher. And then
electric motors have a higher power to weight ratio than a combustion engine so, you could
actually have the power to do the vertical take-off and landing part with a
fairly small motor, compared to combustion. And then you could get rid of the elevator
and rudder, so you don’t need the rear-control services if you can build the motor.

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  1. We are not going to have supersonic VTOL electric aircraft any more than hundreds of miles of tunnels and car sleds under cities. Think of something that can ACTUALLY be done.

  2. You left out the part about the actual battery that powers the electric motor. Do current battery sources weigh less or you know… incredibly MORE than jet fuel? Just wondering.

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