In a world-first, an electric-powered plane was charged by Ford F-150 Lightnings

It took two electric trucks to cover a distance of 250 miles.
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Ford F-150 Lightning charging an electric plane
Ford F-150 Lightning charging an electric plane

Remy Oktay 

Remy Oktay, a US engineering student, has successfully completed a test run and is preparing to launch the world's first electric flight that an electric vehicle will power.

Oktay will perform a flyover of the electric plane, a Pipistrel Alpha Electro, at the Lafayette-Lehigh football game, where he also studies, on November 19. To do this, the electric aircraft needs to go from Hartford, Connecticut, to Easton, Pennsylvania. But there is no charging infrastructure at any of the airports in the 150 miles (240 km) as the crow flies the distance between them.

Therefore the EV plane will need to be recharged three times. There is a 21 kWh battery pack included with the Pipistrel Alpha Electro. It must land with a 30-minute reserve following federal aviation regulations, giving it about an hour of usable flight time.

Oktay decided to employ the Ford F-150 Lightning's Pro Power Onboard and convert the electric trucks into a portable generator to get around this problem.

Oktay stated in a blog post, “We have successfully charged the electric airplane on two separate Lightnings,” and added, “testing the charging process numerous times on two separate vehicles, we are confident in the reliability of this charging process.”

Ford's F-150 Lightning has up to 9.6 kW of power, which has been demonstrated to power a movie set, offer emergency response and more. However, it's the first to power an electric plane flying.

Remy claims that as a "safety precaution," he used the Ford Lightning's total 7.2 kW power in the bed to charge it completely. The variant would only need to recharge once if that. The entire trip mileage is about 250 miles (400 km).

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In order to assist with the first electric plane flyover at the Lafayette-Lehigh football game on November 19 and to record the occasion, Oktay is now assembling a team of Ford F-150 Lightning owners. In his post, he writes: "We will need two Lightnings for recharging the plane, each stopping at two of the four airports, because the plane will fly faster than a truck can drive. The hope is for each recharging truck to have a support/filming truck that will carry the film crew and allow people to go get meals while the charging truck is recharging the plane. In total, we are looking for 4 Lightning owners to help.”

Oktay told The Driven in an interview, “We have four Lightning drivers who’ve committed to doing the trip with us. The reason we chose to have four is we need to have two teams of Lightning drivers because the plane flies faster than the trucks can drive.”

They had 60 minutes of usable flight time at 85 nautical miles (157 km) under the original schedule of three stops. The F-150 would need to draw roughly 10kW to fully recharge.

But because of the enthusiasm surrounding the concept of a truck charging an airplane, they were forced to add two more stops "for predictability," cutting the distance between the legs to 30 nautical miles (55 km).

This ensures that the aircraft battery never drops below 55–60 percent and that each recharge takes 1.5 hours.

A Textron eAviation-provided converter connects the two and converts the truck's AC power supply to DC for the plane.

“I was expecting there to be some issue, so I built a whole flow charge of ‘okay if this doesn’t work, how do we modify this set up’,” he added. “We drove eight hours for it to work perfectly the first time.”

On Saturday, November 12, the trip to Connecticut is expected to take place, and on Tuesday, November 22, the return trip is planned.

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