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Electric Aircraft Range Calculator

Lift/drag ratio


Total aircraft mass

\( kg \)

Battery mass

\( kg \)

Battery energy density

\( Whr/kg \)

Propulsion efficiency
propulsive energy / energy cosumed




\( km \)



\( miles \)

Energy efficiency


\( kWh / mile \)


This calculator estimates the range of a battery-powered electric aircraft. The range is the largest distance the aircraft can fly in the absence of wind.

Below are some values for reference.

  • Jet liners have L/D around 15.
  • Helicopters have L/D around 5.
  • The energy density of current lithium-ion batteries is 100-265 Whr/kg.
  • The energy density of gas is over 12,000 Whr/kg.
  • The Joby S4 eVTOL has a mass of about 2200 kg.
  • A kilogram weighs about 2.2 lbs (on earth).
  • Electric cars have a propulsive efficiency of about 0.9 from battery to wheel. Presumably an aircraft rotor would get a similar efficiency, but then have further losses converting rotor power to thrust.

As these calculations will show, it's very difficult to obtain a decent range with current lithium-ion batteries.


The following equations are used to estimate the range \( d \) from the lift/drag ratio \( L/D \), total aircraft mass (including passengers, batteries, cargo) \( m_t \), battery mass \( m_B \), propulsive efficiency \( \eta \) and battery energy density (specific energy) \( \gamma \). These equations assume a constant speed flight and exclude energy required in the cabin for avionics, air conditioning, etc. In reality, takeoff and climb may consume substantially more energy and reduce the range significantly.

\[ E = Dd / \eta \] \[ D = m_t*9.8\frac{m}{s^2}/(L/D) \] \[ E = \gamma m_B \]

We are working on a new article regarding the feasibility of electric aircraft and flying cars. Please check back later.

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