Soviet Union followed by Russia has been at the forefront of aviation technology. The Russians are credited with some very unique ideas and concepts in aviation. A logical but new approach to improving range of electric aircraft is not only to increase the size of the battery, but sip the electrical energy slowly. Hence the need to develop more efficient electric motors. Super conductors are theoretically known to improve efficiency by reducing the resistance to current flow.
The Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects (RFARP) is working with a company called SuperOx to develop as High Temperature Super Conductor (HTSC) based electric motor which would be way more efficient that what is available. Thus increasing the range of the aircraft using the same batteries. The HTSC motor will use yet undisclosed materials – another forte of the Russians – which would be cooled by liquid nitrogen. The motor us expected to generate 500 KW of power. This motor would be suitable for all-electric or hybrid-electric power plant for a variety of existing fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as for new-generation eVTOL designs.
The RFARP expects to start the flight testing of a new design Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft using the HTSC electric motors by 2021. Such developments are expected to nudge Russian aviation companies like United Aircraft Corp to start investing in development of all electric aircraft.
Not to be left behind, European Union is also funding an advanced superconducting motor experimental demonstrator program which shall produce an electric motor with 99% efficiency for conducting electric current and a power to weight ratio of 20 KW/Kg.