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  • Writer's pictureTerri Pugh

April 21, 2023 - Your Scoop in CDR!

The Case for Flying Cars as a Climate Solution - George Jetson, the character in the animated TV series The Jetsons, was born in a fictional 2022. By the time he reaches middle age, forty years later, people are zooming around in flying cars.

Venkat Viswanathan thinks there’s a “straight shot” from today to the technologies needed to build that future, despite all the jokes about flying cars being fantasy. The professor at Carnegie Mellon University is obsessed with building the batteries that will power these zero-emission aircraft.

Viswanathan has worked with next-generation battery companies such as QuantumScape Corp., 24M Technologies Inc., and Aionics Inc., and concluded that aviation is “the most important problem that batteries can address,” he told the Zero podcast.

That’s why Viswanathan believes the first application will have to be in the luxury market. Electric aviation will replace the types of trips people might take via helicopter or private jet. The ultimate aspiration may be to make long-haul flights electric, but at first the market will be “small distances and people that value time a lot who will be willing to pay a much higher price to travel that mile.”

While it may seem like a waste of energy, Viswanathan says that electric flying cars are likely to replace trips covering tens of miles that are typically taken by gasoline-powered cars today, in which case “there is a clear energy efficiency argument to be made that an eVTOL would definitely reduce emissions.”

Viswanathan argues that we are close to a “Roadster” moment for aviation. Aviation will go electric the same way the auto industry did after the luxury Tesla Roadster showed there was demand for electric cars.

The climate case for flying cars - Zero - The podcast source of the above story.

I highly recommend reading the Illuminem newsletter in sustainability.

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