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Old 12-13-2020, 11:54 AM is offline
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Camarillo,ca
Posts: 1
Default Tesla Electric powered RV

I know there many very talented people on this forum. Someone must have thought of putting a Tesla motor, inverter, controller, and batteries in an RV.
Just the motor, for example weights only 70 lbs and puts out 362 hp. Although itís seems some of the numbers differ on the internet, they all are in the same ballpark. If Bye aircraft with their Eflyer 2 can fly for 3 1/2 hours , the Tesla setup
In an RV might be interesting?
Maybe someone has already suggested this, hope this isnít a repeat.
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Old 12-13-2020, 12:01 PM
bkervaski's Avatar
bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,994

I've been thinking a lot about it. Biggest problem I see is a reliable reduction drive or finding a motor that will run efficiently enough at 2500rpm.

My math says about 3 1/2 total flight time using 81670 batteries the same amount of batteries in weight as the RV-14 currently has in fuel so really only about 3 hours safely.

The new packs in the Model 3 and Y are 2170's would probably add another 30 minutes, haven't done the math.

Then the problem is charging .. since there are no level 2 or 3 chargers at airports .. having to charge at least overnight with an AC adapter for every 3 hours of flying .. which basically kills the idea for anything other than novelty.

But the novelty would be cool
N196 RV-14A #140376 (Selling) 2019 Bronze Lindy
N169 Carbon Cub EX-3 (Finishing)
N15Z RV-15 (Waiting ... impatiently)

Last edited by bkervaski : 12-13-2020 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-13-2020, 12:15 PM
David Z David Z is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 974

The Tesla motor makes 362hp, but at what RPM? 362hp is way too much for all of the RV models. How much power does it make in the 2200-2700rpm range?

Another question is continuous output and cooling. Can the engine handle that high load and electrical current for long duration? A Tesla, while great when accelerating that power isn't used very often. A car operated in a legal fashion can't use much more than about 50hp continuously. An RV10 would need about 220hp continuous when climbing and 200hp is around 75% of 260hp for cruise.
Empennage Passed Pre-close Inspection
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Old 12-13-2020, 12:23 PM
cgroves cgroves is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 28

362 off an IC engine is too much, it depends on what is the limiting factor. The electric motor will make much smoother power without the impulse vibration that a gas engine would create. On the flip side since they come up to 100% torque almost instantly you would probably need to limit the spinup torque in software.

I can't wait, lots of issues around noise and land use go away with electric aircraft. The drive systems have far fewer moving parts and make turbines look horribly unreliable.

And best of all, power is constant so you get some outrageous cruise speeds at high altitude.

Last edited by cgroves : 12-13-2020 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 12-13-2020, 12:38 PM
terrye terrye is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,044

Originally Posted by cgroves View Post

And best of all, power is constant so you get some outrageous cruise speeds at high altitude.
Limiting factor is VNE in true airspeed of the airframe at high altitude, not the engine power.
Terry Edwards
RV-9A (Fuselage)
2022/2023 VAF Contribution Sent
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Old 12-13-2020, 03:30 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,703

I know a guy in the middle of building an RV-8 that is going to put an electric motor in it. He's waiting for some improvements in battery technology. Basically, he will be able to take off, go do some 30 minutes of aerobatics and come back and land with 30 minutes of reserve. Definitely not a cross country machine.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 1000 hours!
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Old 12-13-2020, 04:54 PM
sailvi767 sailvi767 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 1,528

The current Tesla model 3 battery weighs about 1060 lbs. Given a sustained requirement for 150 HP inflight I suspect that battery would be good for 45 minutes. Just not going to work with current batteries.
RV-6 sold
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:18 PM
Mike Houston Mike Houston is offline
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Bushmills
Posts: 45

Its definitely the future. The big two have tried to stymy any innovation in Internal combustion engine tech for last 20-30 years. Each new airframe designed around their existing power plants has assisted them in this.

However i see pipistrel have anew version of their panther coming out with a hybrid battery 915is power plant capable of 215 knts. Also companies like are creating powerful electric motors that weigh 1/10 of similar ICE power plant.
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:23 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 6,090

Another requirement for electric flight is going to be quick-change battery packs - no way will we be able to charge them fast enough to be useful for real flight. You would have to handle battery packs just like scuba tanks - drop off empties and pick up full ones - and the FBO's will have to invest in keeping a few packs on hand and charging them. The costs there are not inconsiderable.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2023 dues paid
N16GN flying 1,250 hrs and counting on 91E10; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
Repeat Offender - 10 empennage in process.
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Old 12-13-2020, 05:23 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southwest, USA
Posts: 2,605
Default Trouble in this here city

The trouble with electric airplanes are their landing weight is the same as their takeoff weight. This eliminates electric power for airliners with present technology
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

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