Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Aaron Drake

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Combustion emissions from aviation operations contribute significantly to climate change and air pollution. Accordingly, there is increasing interest in advancing battery-powered propulsion for aviation applications to reduce emissions. As batteries continue to improve, it is essential to recognize breakthroughs in battery specific energy in the context of air transport vehicles. Most electric aircraft designs and programs have focused on small aircraft because of restrictive battery performance. This work presents a feasibility assessment for an all-electric airliner based on an Airbus A220-100 with turbofan engines replaced by electric motors and propellers. The analysis compares the performance characteristics of the electric airliner to the A220-100 and establishes several configurations with varying battery pack-specific energy. The short-term electric airliner could replace conventional aircraft on very short, high-density missions.

In contrast, the long-term electric airliner requires significant battery technology improvements that are not currently foreseen. The alternative long-term electric airliner could complete half of the A220-100’s missions, but the necessary specific energy value is also not anticipated shortly. All-electric airliners would significantly impact manufacturing, operations, costs, and emissions but are commercially infeasible with current battery technology. Additional development of more advanced battery technology is required to increase the specific energy of battery packs, enhance battery safety and reliability, and develop lighter high-power electric motors.