Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 46. eVTOL comparison with helicopter

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 18, 2022, ©. Leeham News: In the comments to last week’s Corner, there were requests for a comparison with a helicopter re. Sustainability (kWh/km). Here you go.

I also threw in a cost of operations discussion, as the helicopter is the present alternative to an eVTOL for city-to-airport air transports.

Figure 1. The Robinson R66 five-seat helicopter. Source: Wikipedia.

eVTOL versus helicopter

We compare the representative eVTOL we’ve discussed over the last weeks with the most sold helicopter, the Robinson R44, and its larger sister, the R66. The R44 has sold over 6,000 units and the R66 over 1,000.

The R44 is motored by a Lycoming IO540 183kW piston engine and carries a pilot and three passengers, the R66 by a 200kW Rolls-Royce RR300 gas turbine. It takes a pilot and four passengers.

Figure 2. The Robison R44 four-seat helicopter. Source: Robinson Helicopter Co.

Cruise speed for both is 110kts, which on the short hop we analyze, keeps the trip times within minutes of the eVTOL. The R44 can fly for 1.1 hours with a full load, the R66 2.0 hours, and our eVTOL 40 minutes (normal flight until energy is finished, no reserves).

Operating costs

In our analysis in Part 44P, we come to a 25-mile trip cost for the eVTOL of around $220, flying a mission from a city center to a nearby airport. The same trip cost for the R44 would be $140 and the R66 $200. It includes the same landing and ATC fees for all three.

The charging station fees on the heliport and airport (on top of energy cost) are unique to the eVTOL. The helicopters pay for the fueling capability and fuel, which for the R44 is AVGAS; the R66 runs on Jet-A1.

Energy consumption

We had a value of 0.4kWh/km per passenger for our eVTOL when we assumed an average of 2.3 passengers. If we set the same average passenger load for the helicopters, we land at 1.7kWh/km and passenger for the R44 and 2.6 kWh/km for the R66.


Despite the much higher energy consumption, the operating costs for the helicopters are lower, even with an assumed fuel price of $6 per US Gallon.

Part is a much lower capital cost as an R44 costs $0.5m and an R66 $1m. We have assumed our capital cost for the eVTOL is double the R66. These are mature costs that are reached when the production has reached 1,000 units or more.

The problem for the eVTOL industry is that the first hundreds off the production line cost more to produce than these sales prices.

69 Comments on “Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 46. eVTOL comparison with helicopter

  1. The R44e will cost more but with 0 emissions and lower noise it should be able to operate from more city sites than the 100LL and JET-A versions. A city center to airport optimized new design UAM should be able to improve the numbers over the R44 converted to R44e e-helo but how much with todays technology is the question, still the R44 is pretty optimized and not that easy to beat on cost/performance.

    • I wonder just how quiet the various “e-planes” will be. The only one I’m aware of where there’s a genuine single variable test is the Harbour Air retrofit from its piston engine to an electric one.

      If you watch the first flight video, it sure seems like that while there is less noise, there’s not that much less noise owing to noise from the propeller tip.

      Granted, ever e-plane concept I’ve seen (New plane. Not retrofit.) has more, smaller motors with shorter propeller blades and thus lower tip speeds, I wonder if even taking that into consideration, will 6 “quiet
      propellers be that much quieter that 1-4 noisier ones?

      • I think it depends on disk loading and tip speeds times the number of props. For jet engines the T-O noise is heavy dependent on fan nozzle exit speed and as it is lowered with increased size and massflow, to get enough thrust, the noise comes down (and propulsive efficiency comes up). Having counter rotating lift props complicates the noice calculations (the aft prop is normally a bit smaller to avoid the fwd prop tip voticies) and sometimes you select prime numbers for blade/vane counts to avoid harmonics. The jets have inlets, fan case and thrust reversers with noise damping that props lack. Hence the CFMI RISE propfan design solutions should solve many of these problems with the resources of GE/Safran. Still they could hit problems late in testing, especially at altitude where testing is hard if you cannot simulate it at the Arnold Army altitude test tunnel.

  2. If we include reserves, an R44 will mostly be able to do a round trip without refueling. Completely refueling takes around 10 minutes. How long does it take to reload a typical EVTOL for the flight back?

    • No less than an hour to recharge.

      Truly a solution looking for a problem.

  3. Thanks for this useful comparison. Can you edit to show the sensitivity to charge cycle lifespan for the eVTOL? I recall the life used was 1,000 cycles. How much does total operating cost go down if that can be extended to 1,500 0r 2,000 cycles?

    • ” … if that can be extended to 1,500 0r 2,000 cycles”

      How? Beyond science??

      • Now you’re just being contrary and tiresome. There is no rule of physics regarding charging cycle lifespan. Next Gen is 2k to 3k cycles. Solid state, for example has 5k to 10k cycles potential. Financial sensitivity analysis requires examination of edge cases to see what the potential return is for a change in conditions versus current. These aircraft will not be commercialized until 2025 so a lot will change by then.

        • One have to distinguish between: numbers from lab test being thrown around vs. harsher real-life requirements esp. for missions like those for eVTOLs. 🙂

        • -> “The startup aims to scale the battery up to a palm-sized pouch cell, and then upward toward a full-scale vehicle battery in the next three to five years.”

          -> “We have achieved in the lab 5,000 to 10,000 charge cycles in a battery’s lifetime …”

          1. Battery for EVs =/= battery for eVTOLs!!!
          2. They *plan* to achieve a full-scale vehicle battery in *three to five years*. Commercialisation is far from certain.
          3. I’m old enough to live thru’ previous hype cycle.

        • 2025 is only in 2 years ! I don’t see that much change happening in 24 month.

  4. Bjorn.
    The R44 and R66 both are covered by the NPRM requiring crash safe fuel containers for light helicopters. While these proposals are in draft form, the consensus is that there well be a reduction of usefull load for both aircraft in excess of 30 lbs each. This may affect your numbers…..

  5. I’d be willing to pay the higher cost, if it cuts my energy usage by 75%. If the electricity is produced renewably, it would cut my carbon footprint by even more.

    • bob:

      And everyone is using the renewable electrons, so where does that leave our heroes?

      We cannot pick and choose the source , so it is really a question is am I being thoughtful about my choices?

    • Just take the bus or EV taxi (car) if you want to cut your CO2 output.

  6. Pertinent to the whole question of BEVs (both in the air and on the ground):

    “America’s Electric Grid Can’t Support The EV Revolution”

    And this isn’t just a US problem: the same problem exists in Europe.
    For example, although The Netherlands has a modern and well-maintained grid, it’s estimated that electric cabling in 1/3 of all streets in the country will need to be upgraded to cope with distributed generation and/or charging. Note, as a backdrop, that the Netherlands already has one of the highest densities of EV charging stations in the world — and it’s still facing a massive grid modification headache.

    All that extra copper has a CO2 footprint.

    • Actually that would not be true. Electric aircraft are going to be a tiny fraction of the usage (and the major question if the concept fails anyway)

      Enough power for the 10s of millions of electric and hybridized cars and the aircraft end is answered.

      The usual sensationalism the news engages in. End of the world has been coming as long as I have memories (including being a cold war kid)

        • If you read the article carefully, you’ll see that that the referenced 15% growth is an optimistic estimate from a particular analyst — to which the author doesn’t subscribe.

          Last week’s Bjorn article made it clear that the grid expansion is going to be much more than 15%.
          For example, charging a BEV car to drive just 100 km requires 15kWh — equivalent to doing about 10 laundry cycles at 60 degrees Celcius in a washing machine with a 7kg capacity. Most households have two cars.
          Next up: gas heating has to be replaced by electric, and the average central heating gas boiler in a typical household has a power rating of about 20-25kW.
          Next up: hydrogen has to be generated (by electrolysis) for public transport, shipping and aircraft.

          Rather than 15%, a more realistic estimate would be several hundred percent.

          • Sir, you appear to be making up figures as you go – or should I say, as suits you. There are 105 million autos in the US driving an average 14,500 miles per year. Assuming no change in total miles that’s 1.52 trillion miles and 525 GWhr. Total U.S. electricity consumption in 2021 was about 3,930 GWhr, so the growth would be 13.3%. If you want to layer on household heating, trucks, or industrial processes, or your wild herring of hydrogen production, those are different topics, aren’t they? Nevertheless, with efficiency gains already taking place across many other uses (such as lighting), US electricity consumption has been essentially flat for several years, so 1%-2% growth per year is less than what we accomplished for the prior 100 years.

          • There are well over 200 million light vehicles in the U.S. Many (most?) are needlessly heavy and large for their purpose with no end of this trend in sight.

            Maybe only 100% more electricity will be needed. Heating applications will be heat pump mostly. My own sense is that the share of total electric demand that will be possible to meet with wind and solar will be, because of intermittency, considerably lower than many hope. Solar has both daily and random (weather) intermittency plus SERIOUS seasonal intermittency.

            My humble opinion is that a very low CO2 electrical supply will require a lot of nuclear power.

            Also when trying to reduce CO2 from fossil fuel the most important by far is coal. Currently roughly half of all global CO2 but only about one quarter of the useable energy of all fossil fuels comes from coal.

          • @Analyst
            “There are 105 million autos in the US driving an average 14,500 miles per year”

            And what about other vehicles? The “V” in “EV” does, after all, stand for “vehicle”. Trucks, buses, mororbikes, boats, planes…forgotten those? If we consider registered road vehicles alone, there are more than 275 million of them in the US.

            Next: since the article that I posted relates to “*renewable energy* and electric vehicle infrastructure”, then it becomes necessary to also consider all other energy uses, including home heating, industrial, and hydrogen production, for example.

            Uncomfortable realities for the greenwashing idealists who want to believe in simple, neatly boxed solutions.

          • @ Daniel P Fuller

            Heat pumps: an average domestic heat pump in The Netherlands consumes 4850 kWh of electricity per year — which more than doubles the original electricity consumption of a typical household. Add to that the need to charge one or more BEVs and power consumption skyrockets.

            Solar/wind: A nightmare for grid managers because of variability — both predictable and unpredictable. Solar production at the height of winter is only 1/6 as strong as at the height of summer — and it’s zero at night. Wind production is totally weather-dependent: we’ve had a record number of becalmed says in northwestern Europe this year — today is another one where I live.

            Don’t forget shipping! Stand beside the river Rhine for 10 minutes and count the never-ending flow of large barges plying its waters. All that propulsion has to be converted to hydrogen, which needs to be generated by electrolysis. Want to calculate how many kWh that requires? And all that’s only a fraction of what’s required for sea shipping!

            You’re correct in saying that nuclear is the only viable approach — but try selling that to green idealists.

          • What I can add from someone who has done it.

            They are in SW US. They had the money to put up solar panels and a support system for house backup.

            When they are not at the house its generating power and feeding back into the grid and they get paid for it (there is an offset for the Utility Infrastructure so its not 1-1 per KWH generation they would pay for)

            Texas just skated through another freeze debacle because people had put solar panels on their houses (I think it was like 10GW in the system).

            It was the difference this time between crashing the system per the big freeze up a few years back and getting though it with no crash. The powers that be estimated 3GW I believe and were shocked (pun intended) to find out they had a LOT more.

            Trying to put a fixed factor on a moving situation dos not work. Its dynamic and its changing and faster than even the players who should know understand.

            So, no the sky is not falling, nor is it going to (short medium term).

            The other mistake is assuming that the solution in search of a problem pans out. It won’t.

            Not the first time we have had, oh rah, we are going to change the world. The small business jet model (Eclipse?) and all the pie in the sky forecasts just to founder on the hard rocks of reality.

            Speculation is not facts.

            While many do not remember it, I well remember the Blackberry. It was a bust. That eventually morphed into smart phones but it was 10 years latter (and yes there was at least an understanding what mobile phones would do, we used pagers in their place early on)

            Me? When I was working II had a flip phone , its all my company provided and all I needed. The manager was incensed, my company should provide a real phone. He could use it, I did not need it.

            So yea, a Taxi works if you think of it as a flip phone. All people really do with smart phones is watch cat videos and prowl the internet when they should be working, computers are monitored, smart phones are not and ……………….

            There are 10-20 workers per manager. Do the math. Some MIGHT want or need aerial taxi, how many want (or can) to pay $250 to go 30 miles? I can take a bicycle for nothing more than about 250 calories.

            Some of the same commenters said the same thing about the A380, it was just too early until it was not and had no future in that case.

            Crypto is a craze right now but no one that understand currency is going to put their money into it. Its unsecured, the US made sure banks had secured to 100k (may have changed to higher). The Fed backs that up. They are not going to back unregulated Crypto (FTX just crashed of course , fully predicable, its how any unregulated ops goes.

            If fact if you wanted to cut power use, the Crypto Farms would be huge (and they take up more resources for garbage, talk about killing us off)

            And lets not forget the Tullip crash!

            So no I don’t believe it.

  7. And then we have this concept, have to love it as Amphibs were a huge part of my early life (PB&5A/Goose/Albatross and Wigeon)

    And as long as you are over water you have an airfield!

    Its not really an Amphib yet (no landing gear) , but it would need to be to be successful.

    For commercial viability (numbers sold) you need to be able to land on a runway.

  8. BBC: “Are flying taxis getting closer to lift-off?”

    “US air regulators on Monday published rules to formally add the machines, which mix characteristics of helicopters and planes, to the list of regulated aircraft.

    “The update is necessary before firms can offer flights to customers.”

    “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has faced industry pressure to clarify the rules for their flight, said on Monday it was proposing to expand its definition of the machines it considered air carriers from airplanes and helicopters, adding “powered lift” to the list.

    “The agency called its move “an important step toward making commercial air taxi operations a reality”. The rules now face a period of public comment before they can go into effect.

    “”This powered-lift definitions rule lays the foundation that will allow operators to use powered-lift aircraft,” it said. “This is important because our regulations have to cover powered-lift aircraft for them to be able to operate, including commercially.”

    “The agency also said it expected to publish proposed rules for operating such aircraft in summer 2023. Those rules will outline in more detail the criteria that firms will need to meet to licence pilots and launch their operations.”

    “Despite the uncertain timeline, United Airlines and Delta are among the major companies that have committed millions of dollars to the idea in recent months. Globally, hundreds of firms are racing for a piece of the action.

    “Robin Riedel, a partner at McKinsey and co-leader of the firm’s Center for Future Mobility, said many of those companies are likely to fail, pointing to the technical challenge they face, as well as the task of winning public confidence and reducing costs enough to make flying taxis more widely affordable.

    “He expects such travel to remain limited to select cities and routes until after 2030, used primarily by ultra-wealthy or business passengers.

    “”Nobody wants to build another toy for the rich – there’s a very limited market for that,” he said. But, he added, “as a society and as an industry we have to be realistic.””

  9. Interesting/amusing that a commenter above referred to the “wild herring of hydrogen production”.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, there are multiple products like these now on the road or just about to hit it — the specs clearly illustrating the relative impracticality of BEVs compared to Hydrogen FCEVs:

    “The Quantron QHM FCEV hydrogen truck is a world champion in terms of range. This road tractor is intended for long-distance transport. It is equipped with two FCmove™-XD fuel cells of 120 kW by Ballard and an integrated eGen Power 130D axle manufactured by Allison Transmission.

    “With their tanks positioned behind the cab, they can store up to 116 kg of hydrogen, giving them a range of up to 1,500 km on a single refuelling.”

    “A truck equipped with the Bosch fuel-cell system can travel more than 500 kilometers on a full tank holding 11.7 kilograms of hydrogen. It takes just five to ten minutes to refill the hydrogen tank, including safety checks”

    And here’s a map showing how hydrogen refueling stations are proliferating in central Europe:

    Of course, the major headache now is to switch to green hydrogen production. As commented above — and in last week’s Bjorn article — that’s going to require a revolution in electricity generation and distribution.

  10. I’m not impressed with hydrogen unless it is made by electrolyzing sea water with nuclear power, capturing the hydrogen and freeing oxygen. Only nuclear power would give production facilities the stable energy source the process would need. It’s too expensive for it to not be running constantly at optimum speed, not dependent on the wind and the clouds.

    Most commercially available hydrogen today is made from natural gas, methane, which captures the hydrogen and frees carbon, which then bonds with oxygen in the air to become carbon dioxide.

    The only good thing about using hydrogen on long-haul trucks is that it’s much cleaner than diesel, even if made from natural gas, owing to no particulates, and fueling stations can be centrally located at existing truck stops.

    BTW, how much does all this European hydrogen cost per mile compared to diesel?

    If all this massive infrastructure is being subsidized by the government, then that is a “lack of sustainability” in its own right.

    • Why compare the (direct) economics of hydrogen to those of Diesel? We know that’s a win for diesel.
      More relevant is a comparison of hydrogen to battery propulsion — noting that the latter has a plethora of “hidden” drawbacks.
      A careful study of both propulsion methods shows that the Green movement hasn’t done its homework.

  11. I compare hydrogen with diesel because that’s the comparison companies that actually have to spend their money to decide what to buy have to make, today, or whatever day in the future they have do decide what to buy for fleet modernization.

    That Chinese truck is clever, but unless they are driving it in worst-case urban conditions where minimal emissions are so important they go to extraordinary lengths, they may very well have done just as well , global carbon wise, by having the truck run on LNG.

    All of this green stuff doesn’t matter in the slightest unless and until there is a meaningful carbon tax, so consumers don’t have their decisions distorted by the ability to dump their waste product in the air for free.

  12. A few headlines from my POV:
    – There is no “Green Movement” in technology; that’s thinking in political terms, which is a mistake laden with inherent bias. There are investors, producers, and consumers (industry) who are making economic, not political, decisions. No guarantee they are right, of course.
    – Hydrogen will never be economic vs. batteries because of physics: compression and leaky transport at near absolute zero are just too expensive. Ammonia is an option if the cracking catalyst development pans out. Production will shift to the cheapest power sources and locations – which are all renewable.
    – Some of you folks seem to have missed the news on grid-scale batteries (many types, not just chemical) which buffer renewable electricity production (14 GW in the US this+next year).
    – Coal is a dead-man walking; nuclear costs too much in all ways and none are being planned in the US. None.
    – EIA reports 45 GW of wind and solar capacity added to the US next year alone = 1.1% additional capacity – as total electricity consumption FALLS

    • “Hydrogen will never be economic vs. batteries because of physics”.
      Actually, it’s the other way around: check out the concept of energy density.

      Next up: no viable EOL solutions for tired batteries.
      Next up: increasing environmental load associated with mining/processing raw materials for batteries.
      We won’t even mention the onerous re-charging times associated with batteries, and the lack of range (which is associated with the above-referenced low energy density).

      Grid-scale batteries: same problems as small-scale use — just magnified to much greater sizes.

      “…wind and solar capacity added”: great — ask network managers how happy they feel on windstill nights.

      “…total electricity consumption falls”: Really? Is that why electricity had to be rationed/paced during the recent California heatwave?

      “…nuclear costs too much in all ways and none are being planned in the US. None”

      Strange. The link shows two new reactors being considered in the US (Vogtle 3 and 4), as well as MANY more in other countries:

      • Sir, it’s hard to discuss when facts are ignored. Just these points:
        1. EVs (auto and commercial) are nearly cheaper TCO than ICE today; with scale they will be by 2024, latest, without subsidies.
        2. EOL for batteries (by which you mean, in EVs, I think) is to stationary batteries (see Grid) and recycling (see Li-Cycle, Redwood, and others
        3. US electricity consumption has been essentially flat for 10 years, despite climate and GDP growth. Fact. Do you have better facts than the EIA?

        • Even more difficult to discuss when “facts” are window-dressed to suit some greenwash narrative.

          (1) BEVs have higher acquisition costs, and currently have higher per-km operating costs due to elevated electricity prices. They have severely reduced secondhand value due to battery degradation with time. They have zero usefulness for heavy and/or longhaul transport. LNA has also shown that they have zero usefulness in commercial aviation, except as eVTOL “toys” for UHNW individuals.

          (2) Wonderful that some small startups are making symbolic efforts to recycle batteries, but it’s actually pathetic when one takes a closer look. The Redwood website gets a prize for “most vacuous website ever”. CNBC recently did an item on the company: Phil LeBeau asked some uncomfortable questions while we got video shots of gloved hands playing with granulates of different colors. Totally devoid of substance. And that’s supposed to be our salvation, with veritable mountains of EOL batteries about to hit the dust?

          (3) US electricity consumption has been “flat” because the grid has saturated: the demand is there, but it can’t be satisfied. Result: all those power outages that hit the news every year, and Californians/Texans who are asked to turn down aircos in the afternoon.

          “A large portion of North America is at risk of insufficient energy supplies during peak winter conditions this year, U.S. and Canadian regulators at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation , or NERC, said on Thursday.”

          • Analyst:

            Nuclear is interesting in that as I understand it, France re-process it and the US does not want that for fear of a spread of use to weapons (I don’t get that part if the plan is in the US or EU (UK)

            But it also is zero emissions (or really close) and almost nothing is.

            If you maintain your safety (and don’t do stupid things like put your backup generator in a basement) its safe.

            Poland is going to build reactors, some are US sourced.

            Nuke Power is not benign, there is mining, it needs to be close to major water and of course disposal but compared to batteries?

            I am open to it. The world has been shook by the latest fossil fuel impact once again.

            I am not convinced but I am open and I was not before (the ability to adjust to new or improved comparison facts is a key metric for a successful mechanic/technician/engineer)

          • @TW

            The problem of nuclear is the long gestation period and cost overrun that make it often not palatable. Recently a nuclear plant opened in Finland, construction started back in *2009* IIRC and the cost ballooned from an initial estimate of €3 billion ($3.27 billion) to around €11 billion.

        • ” … with scale they will be by 2024, latest, without subsidies.”

          Disconnected from reality? Ford raised EV price twice in a month; what’s the price of the cheapest Tesla? Not $35k anymore. It ballooned to almost $50k. Prices are not falling as forecasted, but going up!!

          • EV prices are up this year due to huge demand for EVs. Not only are they selling above list price, only the more expensive models are being built. Same for Porsche ICE. Of course there has been inflation. But better/optimized battery and motor technologies are reaching market and alternatives to Lithium are close. Last petroleum at $80+ makes for more cost savings.

          • Reality: both Ford and Tesla raised their listed prices (For Tesla it’s a trend over years.)
            Battery material cost is rising rapidly bucking those cost-parity predictions.

    • “EIA reports 45 GW of wind and solar capacity added to the US next year alone = 1.1% additional capacity”

      -> Germany added generating capacity of 73% in the last 20 years, but barely increased actual generation by 5% – because PV generation in GER only works 11-12% of the time, which is why they also kept 89% of fossil-fired capacity.

    • Don’t get too excited about wind power being added to the grid. That will peak out before long as all the best places to install turbines get taken.

      Then there’s that thorny issue of having those always entertaining public hearings to get the permits to put up the transmission wires for all that new wind power.

      There’s already people fighting wind turbines to save the birds.

      Unless the US government decides to make it a WWII-type priority, none of this will happen as it will be like the California High Speed rail where cowardly politicians gave every one horse town the tracks run through the power to stop or thwart it.

      • Wind turbine placement on land has already maxed out here in NL, for exactly the reasons you name.
        Offshore is now the only option, and that’s also fraught with obstacles.

        The current government wants to build 5 new nuclear reactors, but that’s opposed by uninformed activists/anarchists.

        The same circus will replay elsewhere.

  13. The poor reliability of the grid is indeed an issue, but not because of renewables or capacity or politics. It’s been a growing problem for decades.

    Regarding cost/KM of EVs, please provide data – your assertion is not consistent with any data I’ve seen, and I’m in the commercial vehicle business. In addition, the TCO of vehicles includes maintenance costs, which are reduced more than 50% in EVs v. ICE.

    • My diesel car gives me 22 km per liter, at a current cost of EUR 1.85 per liter here in NL. That translates to EUR 8.41 per 100 km.
      An equivalent EV uses 15 kWh per 100 km. The current electricity price here is EUR 0.79 per kWh (excluding network costs), which gives us EUR 11.85 per 100 km for the EV. That’s for home charging: the price for street charging is much higher, particularly for fast charging.
      My diesel car comes with a 10-year total cover service contract for a price of EUR 1,000.
      The equivalent EV costs EUR 15.000 more than my car, predominantly due to the price of the battery. The annual interest on that amount is EUR 600, which translates to EUR 6,000 over the 10-year period of my service contract. So I save EUR 5,000 on that difference alone.

      If you can read Dutch: here’s a nice comparison of EV, petrol and diesel here in NL, using 3 versions of a Volkswagen Golf — and it’s from 2020, before the present surge in electricity pricing. The conclusion:
      EV: 12 cents/km (street charging)
      Petrol: 9 cents/km
      Diesel: 6 cents/km

      • And another study on this matter:

        “Data reveals that EVs were 2.3 times more expensive to service than ICE vehicles after the first three months of ownership.”

        “If that seems worrying, you’ll be more relieved to learn that after the first year, EVs become just 1.6 times more expensive to service.”

        “…the company looked at the data of about 19 million vehicles between the 2016 and 2021 model years. The total service costs spent in the first three months/one year on EVs are divided by the number of vehicles that have at least three months/one year in service. That provides the total cost per vehicle for three months/one year in service.”

        “The study found out that service techs are spending twice as long diagnosing problems with EVs vs. those with gasoline vehicles. They are also spending 1.5 times longer fixing them, which should be a worry for EV owners’ wallets as the average labor rate was 1.3 times higher.”

        You should do your homework before asserting that “facts are ignored” by others.

      • I am sorry for you your electricity price is so high. In the US the retail price is 12 cents, I guess about 0.15 Euros. Regarding maintenance cost, we have a different experience:40% real-world reduction. I can tell you for diesel the reduction is more like 80%, especially due to brakes and after treatment.

        Perhaps you will agree that the first 3 months are exclusively quality-related issues (sounds bad, but Hyundai is apparently good) and actual maintenance happens later: oil at 10k KM brakes at 20k KM, etc.

        • “In the US the retail price is 12 cents”

          Not according to this link, which shows huge variations per state, with — for example — Hawaii coming in at about 40 cents, California 24, New York 21, etc.

          A large portion of the electricity price in the EU is comprised of government levies/duties, which are then plowed back into grid maintenance and expansion; that might explain why the EU grid is in better shape than that in the US.

          I don’t know what service costs are like in the US, but I imagine that you might be able to agree that my EUR 1000 for 10 years of full maintenance — oil, brake fluid, filters, you name it — is a bargain compared to what a Tesla owner will be paying across the same period? And I’m driving a BMW — not a Lada.

          One way or another, we should terminate this thread so as not to prompt a scolding from Scott/Bjorn. Although of significant background relevance to the whole BEV discussion — including for aviation — it could be construed as “off topic”.

  14. Honda is now jumping on the BEV bandwagon, with its own eVTOL, announced yesterday. Of note:

    “The VTOL has eight, high-mounted rotors and can travel about 60 miles with just a battery. It could be used for inter and intracity flight, says Honda, even as an ambulance. However, taking a more “realistic approach,” Honda will also create a hybrid version with a generator on board.

    “The hybrid version could go about five times the distance as the electric VTOL, about 300 miles, and conveniently would also run on the aviation fuel the company created by sequestering carbon.”

    The article is more interesting for its discussion of a new algal fuel / carbon sink that Honda is developing. Of note:

    “Starting with the carbon capture, Honda has the Dreamo microalgae that eats carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. Its self-replicating and takes very little input to work, says Honda. It can withstand temperatures even below freezing, but needs to be placed near a source of carbon dioxide to be most effective.

    “The carbon goes in at 0.04 percent, uses a CO2 absorption material and pushes it out at 95 percent CO2. That can be mixed with a catalyst for the fuel, or sent to the Dreamo algae tanks to make biofuel, bioplastics or food and dietary supplements. The excess can be stored permanently in old oil wells while liquid CO2 can be stored safety by mixing it with calcium.”

    And, of particular interest:

    “”Our goal is not to change internal combustion engines to battery. Our goal is to reach a carbon neutral world by 2050. Resource circulation is key,” Aoyama told Newsweek.”

  15. It seems I recall how their “Honda Jet” was going to revolutionize the air taxi business.

    I’m always entertained by the notion of “carbon capture.”

    That’s the same thing as burying nuclear waste to “get rid of it” by leaving it for future generations to deal with.

    • The earth’s mantle is full of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes…does it bother you?

      Similarly, the earth’s oceans contain about 38,000 gigatons of stored carbon…is that something to worry future generations?

    • -> Dreamo consumes carbon dioxide and produces oxygen through photosynthesis. Every 1g of algae can consume 2g of carbon dioxide

      -> Dreamo also multiplies rapidly. The cells divide once every 5 hours and multiply up to 32 times a day. Set up outside factories it can work hand in hand with Honda’s new carbon capture technology where the captured C02 can be quickly consumed by the algae.

    • Sequestration of CO2 into depleted oil fields and NG fields seems to be particularly effective. In the case of oil fields, it even enhances recovery. There is a small project now in Australia already exporting Hydrogen to Japan by ship. Brown coal is converted into hydrogen and the CO2 tailings are pumped offshore to oil rigs in Bass Straight where it is sequestered and enhances recovery. At those depths and pressures, it doesn’t come out. The Potential in Texas and California must be huge. You only need to transport the CO2 but the value of the “Blue Hydrogen” produced must be much more than the cost of the CO2 transport. It’s bound to be cheaper than ‘green’ anything and will get us over the line for the next 40 years. There are other storage locations: deep aquifers and minerals. It’s not going to be hard for geologists, oil and gas people to figure this out. Even if its comes out over 2000 years its OK.

      • Apart from the promising storage mechanisms that you name, the Honda article above also refers to the use of calcium to convert captured CO2 into harmless, stable, solid carbonates — calcium carbonate is essentially just limestone.

        • -> “Set up outside factories it can work hand in hand with Honda’s new carbon capture technology where the captured C02 can be quickly consumed by the algae. But that’s only the beginning.
          Fukushima and her team have been working on adjusting the nutrient concentration by altering nitrogen and phosphorous levels. It takes only three days for the transformation into different products depending on its composition. When Dreamo is 70 per cent protein it becomes a viable high-protein meat alternative or can be used to make cosmetics, or feed for livestock. Skew its chemistry to 60 per cent carbohydrates and the algae can be converted into ethanol, jet fuel, and resin. It can also be used to make plastics for use in cars. The possibilities are endless.”

          • One would think that rising CO2 levels would make this golden times for plants.

          • “One would think that rising CO2 levels would make this golden times for plants.”

            Isn’t it a bit too simplistic? How’s plant growing say … on Mars??

  16. The earth’s mantle is not full of artificially created plutonium, nor of highly, highly concentrated, toxic, radioactive U-235, so no. The earth’s mantle being full of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes does not bother me. That’s a foolish question. Why would it?

    The earth’s oceans do not contain 38,000 gigatons of nearly pure carbon, like coal, waiting to be burned to make CO2.

    Carbon sequestration is not about breaking CO2 apart, releasing the O2 and burying the carbon.

    Carbon sequestration is about capturing CO2 from the air and somehow pumping it into the ground where it will remain for all eternity, not escaping into the atmosphere to cause it to warm and kill us all.

    • Much of the carbon stored in the ocean is in the form of methane hydrate — a metastable solid on the sea floor that can spontaneously de-gas at the slightest disturbance.

      Natural gas (methane) is present in vast quantities in permafrost, bogs and lake silt…it escapes into the atmosphere all the time.

      Seepage of natural radioactive Radon out of the ground and into buildings is a much bigger issue than the small quantities of transuranic isotopes stored by human activity.

      Further: there are vast quantities of U-235 and U-238 in the mantle — the heat released from their ongoing decay is what keeps the mantle fluid.


  17. An interesting analysis would be to imagine an eVTOL based on helicopter technology. There are advantages:
    1 The gearbox and starting system can be completely eliminated with direct drive to the rotor. This is a big expense in maintenance. No need for rotor brake.
    2 Main rotor drive will best be propelled by a double motor or motors with double windings to achieve redundancy.
    3 A tail rotor or fan could be driven by multiple electric motors or contra rotating fans. It would not require a pitch mechanism this eliminating mechanical components and their needs for service. Yaw control could even by via ducted fans on stub wings.
    4 It will be possible to use ‘fly by wire’ and an IMU to control the aircraft making it very easy to fly. Perhaps rudder pedals can be eliminated.
    5 Automatic conversion to autorotation making the aircraft safer.
    6 Noise will be less due to lack of engine noise and rotor noise can be minimized by use of a slow rotating multiblade rotor.
    7 A cyclic and collective pitch mechanism will still be needed but it is common for wind turbines now to have individual servo motors adjust blade pitch control over contactless electrical power and communications. Perhaps the sswashplate can be eliminated.

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