Diamond Aircraft has announced that Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT) will be the launch customer for its all-electric eDA40 trainer. The letter of intent (LOI) covering the planned purchase also includes provisions for the two companies to collaborate on testing the model “in a real training environment” at LAT’s location in Grenchen, Switzerland. According to Diamond, results will be used to inform further development of the aircraft for flight training and “to explore options for a suitable operation of a mixed training fleet consisting of the eDA40 and the conventional AUSTRO jet-fuel powered DA40 NG.” While the number of aircraft ordered and estimated delivery dates were not made public, the first trial phase in Grenchen is slated to begin as early as the end of the year.
“Diamond Aircraft’s fuel-efficient DA40 and DA42 models are already operating very successfully at our flight schools in Rostock (Germany) and Grenchen (Switzerland),” said Lufthansa Aviation Training CEO Matthias Spohr. “I am very pleased that with the signing of the LOI for the all-electric eDA40, we are now jointly opening a groundbreaking chapter in the topic of sustainability.”
Introduced in October 2021 as an all-electric derivative of its DA40 single-engine piston aircraft, Diamond says the eDA40 will be “the first EASA/FAA Part 23 certified electric airplane with DC fast charging.” According to the company, the eDA40 is expected to offer an endurance of up to 90 minutes “as the battery technology evolves” and be capable of recharging in under 20 minutes. The aircraft will use the Safran ENGINeUSTM 100 electric smart motor and Electric Power Systems EPiC battery technology and be outfitted with the Garmin G1000 NXi.
“According to the company, the eDA40 is expected to offer an endurance of up to 90 minutes “as the battery technology evolves” and be capable of recharging in under 20 minutes. ”
In other words the technology to make this work does not exist. Where do I send my check?
Future is here. We already live in the electric aircraft era – the historical period when all players felt the need. The need to talk electric gibberish.
Got to wonder why they are not electrifying the 40 instead of the 20 or the motor glider.
Maybe it‘ll be a 2- or 3-seater with the battery weight and the larger airframe might offer more flexibility to install it.
90‘ endurance on 20‘ charging time would seem attractive for basic training.
Read the weasel wording about future battery development as quoted above. One thing that has been universally reported is that fast charging is really hard on batteries and substantially reduces both charge density and operational life, regardless of the platform. For instance, a large trucking conglomerate looking at Tesla and other battery trucks reported that fast charging reduces battery life by half, and replacement batteries are neither cheap or readily available.
Remember though, wearing out the battery and other costs are going to be compared to the cost of fuel and maintenance of the piston engine. It’s not a hard goal.
It makes me wonder what the power requirements are for the large screen G1000 suite displays. Some smaller screens would probably impact the range and flight time significantly.
The electronics are a tiny fraction of the power needed to keep the plane aloft, and any difference in screen size would in turn constitute only a tiny fraction of that. Now, if they want to heat the cockpit during those chilly winter days, that’s a different story 🙂
Cabin heat can reduce the range of an electric car by a third. Also the efficiency of the batteries can be reduced in cold weather (where aircraft often operate) by a third. Thus we can expect real world range to be half of what is being advertised.
Progress is great. The training environment with short one hour hops is the perfect place to implement the currently available battery and electric capabilities. Is battery power ready to take you on a long cross country? Not yet; but it likely will eventually.
Every time there is a story about new technology in aviation being introduced, there are always a certain number of doom and gloom commenters on these pages. One wonders if the same group would have been out on the beaches of North Carolina booing the Wrights as well.
We would have recognized the potential in the aircraft, but also the internal combustion engine.
This is different.
There are inescapable electrophysical limitations on the energy density of chemical batteries that will necessarily prevent them for mainstream practical use.
As I have said before, my (our) issue in not with electric motors but batteries. HFC, or a cogeneration system teamed with a proper piston gas, diesel, or turboshaft engine would work.
Is adding two or more additional components to the power trail really improving anything?
‘Is adding two or more additional components to the power trail really improving anything?’
No, it does not.
That’s why I advocate sticking with piston and turbine powerplants.
William, the mere fact that you do not know how to reply to the appropriate thread of a comment session is testament to your lack of technological acumen, so I understand how you cannot comprehend the evolution of battery technology. There have been recent breakthroughs with regard to LiS and LiAir batteries to overcome the charging cycle limitations and it’s just a matter of time before these technologies reach production scale. You constantly post comments regarding limitations of physics, but it is clear that you do not truly understand the physics because there are plenty of chemical combinations that result in very high multiples of energy density and it’s just a question of time before our best and brightest overcome the obstacles to making these solutions viable. Once again, the physics actually support the technology for energy density, so your initial oremise is wrong. But as I mentioned earlier, you must not truly understand technology, otherwise you wpyld have know how to reply to a comment such that your invalid remarks would be subordinate to the original comment.
It will be interesting to see what effect the DC fast charging will have on the aircraft batteries in actual field conditions. It is true that the faster you recharge lithium based batteries, the faster the chemistry degrades – partially due to the heat buildup within the cells. If the battery packs have an internal cooling system, some of that may be eliminated, but overall, it will still eventually shorten the life. In addition, constantly depleting the charge below about 20% and charging to near 100% will have a significant effect on battery life. What is valuable in this “experiment” is that it will give good data on how batteries will hold up in real-world operation.
I suggest more articles on electrically powered aircraft. Eventually most anti-battery multiposters will throw in the towel and park their donkey carts. Several already have.
No one is “anti-battery”; rather, think of it as being realistic about total emissions and performance.
A much more accurate term therefor would be “anti-hype”. I think that all us rational pilots can be in that camp when it comes to discussing aircraft.