The Bye Aerospace pure electric plane currently on sale is not yet energy independent but it does generate electricity from the propeller being driven backwards by wind when descending and when parked. It has structural solar wings and it saves the $100,000 in aviation fuel used by a regular small aircraft when training a pilot.
Little wonder that Toyota, world number one in EVs, now has interests in boats and aircraft: there is a bigger picture here. World number two in EVs BYD of China has major interests in solar, like Tesla, but also in wind turbines. Both Toyota and BYD make electric forklifts and buses not just cars.
The new discipline of approaching energy independence brings together all of these vehicles and technologies. Different vehicles will achieve energy independence at different times and some will never get there but they will be greatly improved by many of the technologies.
For example, extreme forms of lightweighting including structural electronics and operating unmanned have wide uses. However, although everyone is talking about autonomous vehicles these days, energy independence represents the birth of a much larger industry.
It is time for the world’s first conference on the subject. IDTechEx is staging the world’s first conference on “Energy Independent Electric Vehicles” 27-28 September at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, where the most advanced solar racing cars and boats are made.
Toyota is a keynote speaker on “Toyota Progress towards Energy Independence”. Fiat Central Research former Director Professor Pietro Perlo reveals, “The Path Towards more and more Energy Independent Fully Electric Vehicles: Examples of Safe-Secure-Efficient Road, Air And Water Vehicles”.
To make it well worth the trip, there are six optional masterclasses on the subject on the day before and day after and a small exhibition.
Much of the relevant basic research carried out at TU Delft and elsewhere will be presented at the event including advanced vehicle photovoltaics and Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) needed to make ships energy independent. Think tethered kites and drones generating 100kW to 1MW at the altitude where the wind is consistent and four times more powerful.