If you think the idea of owning a car that never needs to fill up on gasoline – but instead needs to be charged at an electric outlet every day – is cool, then just think how much cooler it would be if there was a car that could run forever, and had a power supply that was autonomous and always recharging itself. Pretty cool, right? Oh, but that’s not what world record-setting engineer Chip Yates is designing. No, he’s taking that concept and putting it to work toward something even more grand – an airplane.
The market of electric-powered airplanes is very niche, to say the least. And ones that are considered “long range” are ones that can travel a distance of several hundred miles. So Yates’s idea of creating a plane that could theoretically fly forever seemed like nothing more than science fiction. But he thinks it’s possible. Here’s how it works – instead of using just one giant battery that weighs the plane down and becomes useless after about an hour of flight, he has designed a concept wherein batteries are released after depletion, and then new battery packs can be flown in and docked autonomously.
Yates knows a thing or two about electric vehicle technology. He built an electric motorcycle that clocked in at nearly 200 miles per hour, setting a world record for the fastest electronic motorcycle. After that, he decided he wanted to create an electric plane that could fly over the Atlantic. But what he’s working on now could be much more profound than that. We can’t wait to see if the project, called Flight of the Century, actually takes flight.