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Why Electric Planes Are Inevitably Coming

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Why Electric Planes Are Inevitably Coming

Wendover Productions,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How do you incentivize environmentally-friendly innovation in the airline industry?

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Overview
  • Engaging


If you think the airline industry should just hurry up and adopt electric aircraft, and you’re wondering what the holdup is, this Wendover Productions video from Sam Denby will be a comfort. If you’re in the airline industry, you probably know that electric aircraft have been available since the 1970s, but that their widespread adoption still doesn’t make much sense. If so, this video might give you a broader view of what’s coming – at least for short-haul flights.


Electric aircraft have existed since the 1970s. They’re better for the environment, but airlines need a good business case to use them.

In 1973, the MB-E1 aircraft was the first electric aircraft that successfully flew with humans aboard, and in 2015, a plane called the Solar Impulse 2 used solar power to circumnavigate the globe. Electric aircraft are far better for the environment – so why aren’t commercial airlines using them?

Developing then certifying a new type of aircraft motor is wildly expensive, and current battery technology wasn’t intended for air travel uses. Batteries have low “energy density,” meaning that they’re still heavy for the number of kilowatt-hours they’re able to store. To date, these batteries have been predominantly developed for electric land vehicles, and for that use, weight isn’t as much of an issue. Developers have therefore focused on reducing the cost of batteries, not making them lighter. There are also...

About the Speaker

Wendover Productions is an educational YouTube channel created by Sam Denby in 2010. Denby’s other channels include Half as Interesting and Extremities.

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    W. W. 2 years ago
    Reading this, "First, fuel costs would go from $844,002 per year to essentially free, especially if Cape Air invests in solar and wind energy." I knew the premise of the book was a facade. Not accounting for the all-in cost (fixed and variable) allows outrageous claims and shows lack of the authors vision.