Can batteries power an airplane?

Batteries power everything from your cell phone to equipment on the International Space Station!
The X-57 uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion Batteries

When batteries are charged, electrical energy is converted to stored chemical energy. When a circuit is completed, the electrical energy is released for use, and the battery loses charge.

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X-57 Setup

X-57 Batteries are:

  • Commercial lithium-ion, in two 400 pound packs
  • Placed inside custom-designed battery packs
  • Located in the cabin
  • Supplies 23 kilowatt hours of energy
  • Extensively tested for safety, energy usage and weight
50 pound battery pack.

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Successful Battery Test

The battery can power the aircraft for the entire flight without overheating to unsafe levels.

Contained Thermal Runaway

Unsuccessful Battery Test

Thermal runaway can happen if a battery overheats, and spreads to other cells, sometimes leading to battery fires.

Thermal Runaway