Electrified Aircraft Propulsion Targets

A look at the electrified aircraft propulsion targets.

NASA state in their November 2021 presentation that they have the following requirements for the battery pack:

  • 400 Wh/kg required at the system level
  • 1000’s of cycles
  • Extremely high power requirements (C-rates) during takeoff and landing
  • Cruise power for long range flights
  • High reliability, limited maintenance
  • Improved safety for thermal runaway events

The targets at pack level are rather tough:

NASA electrified aircraft propulsion system targets
Wh/kg vs pack total kWh

The gravimetric energy density plotted versus total pack energy shows that the automotive packs are currently plateauing around 180Wh/kg.

The roadmap to 400Wh/kg is going to be difficult.

There is a need to improve the power and energy gravimetric density of the cell and pack to enable these electrified aircraft.

NASA electrified aircraft

In addition NASA have a number of research programs looking at safety. eg SPARRCI = Sensor-based Prognostics to Avoid Runaway Reactions and Catastrophic Ignition. In this project they ask the question: “Can catastrophic battery failures be avoided to enable safe next generation ultra-high energy batteries for propulsive aircraft power?”

Will electrified aircraft be the next mode of transportation? Sky is the limit.


  1. NASA Battery Research & Development Overview, Cody O’Meara, Bri DeMattia, NASA Glenn Research Center in collaboration with NASA JPL and ARC

Leave a Comment