Ansys adds partners to work toward electric planes

Venkat Viswanathan, an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University, said the potential benefits of electric flights are wide-ranging — from more environmentally friendly flights to more regional flights to creating new markets for local travel and even using the technology to eventually improve people’s commute to the airport.

“It’s almost like going backward in time where we’re bringing back sort of the joy of air travel. That’s the promise of electrifying regional air travel,” he said, referring to ideas that might open up new travel options.

Before the market gets there though, he continued, a lot has to change.

On the technology side, companies would need lighter batteries, better charging structures, battery packs with longer lives, among other things.

“A lot of people are trying to assess where things will go,” Mr. Viswanathan said. “There’s a lot of questions but there’s an undeniable opportunity around electrification of aviation.”