Geely Looks Skyward, Buys Terrafugia

Dean Sigler Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Geely is a huge enterprise, and while not the largest maker of electric cars in China, sold 766,000 gas and electric vehicles in 2016, growing 50 percent over the previous year.  Its profits grew 126 percent last year, primarily due to sports utility vehicle (SUV) sales.  As EV Obsession reports: “The 351,861 electric car sales registered in China during 2016 represent approximately 46% of ALL plug-ins sold worldwide this year, with Chinese carmakers responsible for 43% of all EV production in 2016.” Geely, surprisingly, owns Lotus, Malaysia’s Proton Motors, the firm that makes London’s iconic taxis, and Volvo.  Volvo just announced that all its cars will be electric or hybrid starting in 2019.  Fortune reports that the company has become highly …

Surefly – A Pickup and a Pick-Me-Up

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re experiencing a myriad of multi-rotors lately, mostly in the vertical lift on demand, sky-taxi  category.  Workhorse, a company specializing in electric vehicles, has introduced the Surefly, an eight-rotor, hybrid-powered two-seater with actual pilots in mind.  Workhorse will reveal the aircraft at the Paris Airshow on July 19, possibly filling in the blanks for the internal-combustion engine and electric motors on the machine. The company started with an award-winning conversion of a Pontiac Sky and has leapfrogged into the creation of unique electric vehicles.  These include not only Surefly, but  a hybrid pickup truck, a hybrid medium-duty step van useful for local deliveries, and Horsefly – an eight-rotor drone capable of delivering 10-pound packages.  Horsefly is launched from the step …

MAHEPA, Modularizing the Approach to Clean Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Pipistrel, itself flying pure electric and hybrid aircraft, has announced its participation in MAHEPA, a Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture.  MAHEPA aims to,” reduce the gap between research and the production of low-emission propulsion technologies that would enable the achievement of environmental objectives in the field of aviation by 2050.”  Mahepa’s first meeting, held May 15 and 16 at Pipistrel’s headquarters at Ajdovscina (Slovenia), helped define the direction for a major academic/industry project. Led by the aircraft manufacturer, in cooperation with Compact Dynamics, DLR (Germany’s equivalent of NASA), the University of Ulm, H2Fly, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft and University of Maribor, project goals are impressive. – “To boost research in the field of low emission propulsion technology to …

Uber Elevate Summit Announces Sky Taxis by 2020

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A scad of news about electric aircraft hit the internet and newsstands last week.  Even USA Today reported on the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas – held with many of the participants in the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium a few days before. Big news came from Uber’s announcement that it intends to offer electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi service in Dallas and Dubai by 2020.  Bigger news for SAS participants is that it is partnering with Pipistrel and Aurora Flight Sciences, both presenting at the San Francisco event.  Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, said Bell Helicopters, Brazil’s Embraer, and Mooney Aircraft would also provide “concepts and technologies” for the near-term launch. According to Aviation Daily, …

Five Representative Exhibitors at the E-Flight Expo

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aero, an annual event at Friedrichshafen, Germany, highlights the beginning of the European air show season.  E-Flight Expo has been a regular part of this for the last several years, and displays the latest in electric flight technology.  Certainly the most forward-looking part of the show, the Expo grows every year.  Several exhibitors helped further the advanced look this year. MGM Compro With at least five aircraft powered by their electric power systems on display, MGM Compro showed great market strength.  The Czech firm has 16 of its motors atop each Volocopter 200, with one as a propulsor in the tail.  Their motors power the Magnus e-Fusion aerobatic trainer, several GP gliders, the S.R.O. Song motorglider, and any number of …

Zunum Electric Airliners Get Nod from Boeing, Jet Blue

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Zunum aero, a startup in Kirkland, Washington, aims to fill the skies with small, quiet electric and hybrid airliners.  These range from a ten-passenger mini-liner to a 50-passenger craft similar to regional jets and feeder airliners.  Zunum is a Mayan word for hummingbird, and like those little speedsters, Zunum aircraft would make short hops efficiently and quietly – with just the hint of a buzz. Their sales pitch is enticing.  “Imagine leaving your doorstep in San Jose at 7 AM and making it to a 9:30 AM meeting in Pasadena. With Zunum Aero, simply drive to a nearby airfield and walk to your aircraft with bags in tow, for a trip that will take half the time and at a …

Equator P2 Runs Forwards, Backwards and Heads Toward Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Tomas Broedreskift, on his Equator Facebook page, reports, “Successful motor test with propeller mounted today with #engiro! Celebrating the milestone with some German  (beer glass emoticon) this evening!  (noise maker emoticons) Amazing to see the thing come alive at last.” As the video shows, the Equator P2’s motor can be made to run in reverse, useful for backing out of moorages or avoiding river debris when the amphibian settles on the water.  Engiro makes range extenders on a custom basis for a variety of applications including (surprise!) amphibious aircraft. The Equator P2’s first long-distance trip, 1,361 kilometers (843 miles) from Norway to Aachen, Germany was obviously not by air, but by hand-crafted trailer, to Engiro’s headquarters where the motor tests …

Airbus E-Fans 2.0 and 4.0 Dropped in Favor of E-Fan X

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Much like waiting for the single-person ram-jet helicopter to show up in your garage, you’ll be left hanging for a two- or four-seat Airbus e-Fan to grace your hangar.  Although not sharing the news in its “Innovation” or press release sections on its web site, Airbus has announced that it’s dropping plans to produce an E-Fan family of personal aircraft.  It will move instead into developing a larger, more powerful aircraft, the E-Fan X, that could fly within three years. Airbus started with a four-motor rendition of the Cri-Cri, four MGM Compro units twirling contra-rotating propellers and producing 60 horsepower.  Their “Innovation” program followed that with the tw0-seat E-Fan, and announced plans to build these in series at their cleverly named …

Paris to London Using No Fossil Fuels

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Jeff Engler fired up a start-up, Wright Electric, about a year ago.  Last week, he presented at the Y Combinator Winter 2017 Demo Day – a semi-annual event where venture capitalists can meet the latest in venturesome mendicants.  Tech Crunch describes the firm’s goals, which include electric flights between London and Paris on no fossil fuels – ambitious to say the least. “Wright Electric wants to build the world’s first electric airplane (at least the first 150 seat electric airliner). One of the main reasons airlines like Southwest can offer low fares is that they pre-purchase gas, but Wright sees an opportunity to make flights even cheaper by using electric planes instead. The company is targeting the 30 percent of …

Equator P2 Assembled, Ready to Go

Dean Sigler Batteries, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Exciting new pictures from Tomas Brodreskift show that his nearly decade-long project has reached a happy completion.  The Equator P2, born in the mind of a talented industrial designer, seemed like a nice dream when your editor first saw it in renderings.  As one would expect from an accomplished product designer, the aircraft looked wonderful, set in inspiring backgrounds. A Man, A Plan, An Airplane As Tomas’ web site explains, “In 2008 the two Industrial Design students and pilots Tomas Broedreskift and Oeyvind Berven started work on the new EQP2 Xcursion, Equator’s first attempt on the light aircraft market. In this start–up phase the Equator team are working on making project assignments, design briefs, and specified diplomas that can be …