The electric jet could be feasible in just five years’ time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted over the weekend. The electric car entrepreneur, who has expressed interest in helping jets ditch the kerosene, claims batteries will be able to support the giant flying machines within the next five years, Inverse says.
The declaration came after a series of posts on Twitter, sparked by video game streamer “Ninja” asking Musk about whether a plane could fly off a battery.
“Yes, but still a bit too limited on range,” Musk responded. “That will change in coming years as battery energy density improves.”
It’s an invention that could dramatically boost the fight against climate change. The aviation industry accounts for around two percent of global emissions. That’s a fraction of the 16.5 percent of emissions that come from road transport. It would mean that if it joined the electric jet race, Tesla’s combined efforts could reduce a staggering 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Similar to cars, switching to electric jets would give big benefits in the overall goal of moving to renewables. It paves the way for energy to come from all manner of sources, including zero-emissions sources like solar, wind and hydroelectricity. Smaller planes like Siemens and Lilium have shown that an electric plane can make sense on a small scale.
A plane could plug in at the airport, charge up ready for the next flight and take off. It could work with solar panels like the ones at Madrid and Barcelona Airport, and a high-powered charger could enable fast turnaround times. Jet-sized Tesla supercharger, anyone?