Despite having produced kits which have led to 6,410 RV aircraft in the air at last count – all carbon-consuming and emitting lightplanes – Richard VanGrunsven owns an electric airplane, an Antares 20E self-launching sailplane. He attended AirVenture 2009, and reports on his findings regarding the current crop of electric airplanes in his article “The Year of the Electric Airplane.”
His opinions are worth noting, simply because of the worldwide acceptance of his designs. He obviously loves his Antares, noting its single-lever motor operation as “almost sinfully simple” compared to the more complex extension/motor start/operation/shutdown/retraction sequences on other motorgliders. He shows some disappointment in the low performance speeds of present electrically-powered craft, but notes that if the claims of some motor packages were fulfilled, “I’d run right out and get a ‘plug-and-play’ motor system and design an airplane around it.” Now, that’s an incentive for developers!