They are compact and lightweight when compared to the amount of energy they provide.
We're harnessing only a small fraction of that energy but we currently don't have electrical storage systems that can compete with that," said Phillip Ansell, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.
Ansell said adding more batteries to fly farther may seem logical, but it works against the goal to make an aircraft as lightweight as possible.
He, along with former aerospace undergraduate student, Tyler Dean, and current doctoral student Gabrielle Wroblewski, utilized a series of simulations to model the performance of hybrid-electric aircraft.
"We started with an existing twin-engine aircraft and looked at how we might create a hybrid-electric drivetrain for it using existing off-the-shelf hardware," Ansell said.
A flight-performance simulator was created to accurately represent the true flight performance of a Tecnam P2006T on a general mission to include take off, climb, cruise, descent, and landing, along with sufficient reserves to meet FAA regulations.