China Plans Electric Airliner Using New Battery Technology


China is charging ahead with an electric aircraft program and it may have a leg up on the competition because of an emerging battery design. Although they haven’t come up with a production model, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., a huge EV battery maker, claims to have been working on a solid state battery that stores up to 500 Wh/kg. That’s roughly twice the density of the best available batteries currently in production.

A joint venture between the battery developer, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and Shanghai Jiaotong University aims to harness all that power and perhaps develop a viable electric airliner. Of course all of these entities are controlled by the Chinese government and the initial budget for the research work is about $80 million. No timelines have been set.

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  1. They, (couple of big car makers) promised France in 2020, that there will new solid state batteries by 2024 … Clock is ticking.
    Difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff but it does not look like it will happen now.
    And when Chinese companies do not have someone to copy, their R&D timelines look normal.

  2. Doubling current battery capacity should make a nice electric trainer aircraft with limited cross-country capabilities. Not sure about a larger transport aircraft. And, the other “gorilla” in the room is how long it takes to recharge.