If electric vehicles sound scary (because of range anxiety), how do electric planes sound? Being stranded on the ground is nothing compared to getting stranded in the sky! But have no fear, the GT4 is here! More precisely, the Volta Volare GT4 from an aeronautics company in Portland, Oregon is a plug-in hybrid plane to begin testing this spring.
As I was saying, there’s no need to panic, because the canard-looking plane won’t rely on its battery power for more than 300 miles and even then, when this one reaches 25%, the gas engine takes over for another thousand miles.
The GT4 has a number of advantages to other light aircraft: first of all, fuel savings. For example, if a four-passenger gas-powered private aircraft were to fly for 200 miles, it would consume $80 worth of avgas (aviation gasoline), whereas our plane would reduce that to a quarter.
Second of all, consider price savings – in both fuel and maintenance. Annual inspections for gas planes cost a fortune, but the GT4 wouldn’t have that problem. True, it would take an inspection to make sure the gas engine works fine, but other than that, a simple plug-in USB cable and a laptop would be all the electric motor would need.
At last, the 236 off-the-shelf lithium-polymer batteries and 600 hp (peak) electric motor pull in a smaller weight than the internal combustion engine of a plane its size, but for balance purposes, engineers have filled up the space with extra batteries, not to mention the 23-gallon gas tank.
The only thing that might scare away buyers would be the plane’s price: although unknown for the moment, the carbon fiber fuselage leaves cause for speculation (over $500,000). However, just like in the EV business, initial investments pays back in later savings, so let the above advantages, the specifications (a 160-knot cruising speed -184 mph) and performance (almost 300 miles) guide your judgment.