Operating cost estimation for electric-powered transport aircraft

K. O. Ploetner, M. Schmidt, D. Baranowski, A. T. Isikveren, M. Hornung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Different international commitments in the aviation industry concerning environmental protection entail a drastic reduction of emissions in the near future. To meet these ambitious targets, research facilities and aircraft integrators work on developments of novel propulsion systems and pursue various approaches especially with hybrid and full-electric propulsion systems. Besides the technical feasibility of all these concepts, the impact of this technology on operating costs arises. To be able to understand operating cost drivers for electric-powered transport aircraft, this paper focuses on the development of an operating cost method for electric-powered aircraft and first applications. Especially, a new cost category of batteries replacing fuel as energy source was investigated in detail. Besides an assessment of costs for battery acquisition, battery lifetime including residual value and battery maintenance, the paper also reviews the development of local and global electricity prices compared to fuel prices. Regarding the impact on maintenance costs of a full-electric powered aircraft, first cost estimations for High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) motors and associated Air Transport Association (ATA) chapters are presented. The developed cost method was applied to a full-electric aircraft concept and compared to a conventional aircraft concept, both with an expected technology level for entry into service in the year 2035. Applying todaýs charging scheme to electric powered aircraft, significant higher Take-off and Landing (TOW and MLW) Weights result in higher landing and navigation charges, flight crew costs or airframe direct maintenance costs. Battery acquisition, deprecation and insurance costs raised cost of ownership by +23%. On the other side, first analysis showed that engine direct maintenance costs of HTS-motors could be lowered by nearly 34% compared to conventional turbofan architecture. Heavily influencing the final cost comparison, a 2% reduction in required energy costs was calculated taking todaýs average fuel and electricity prices into account. The analysis showed a possibility - depending on energy prices and environmental charges - of cost-neutral operation of fully electric-powered aircraft compared to advanced combustion technologies with the benefit of enabling air transportation without any anthropogenic emission impact.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2013 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event2013 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Duration: 12 Aug 201314 Aug 2013

Publication series

Name2013 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference


Conference2013 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles, CA


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