Tine Tomazic of Pipistrel alerted the blog that his firm started series production of their Taurus Electro G2, a first for a two-seat electric aircraft, according to Pipistrel, claiming 20 customers who will receive their G2’s by year’s end.
Improvements over the prototype led to the “rev.2” series version of the self-launching sailplane, which also is the first electrically-powered craft to exceed the performance of its two-stroke Rotax-powered alternative, according to Tomazic.
Pipistrel expands on this. “Taurus Electro G2 can use a shorter runway, climbs faster and performs much better than the gasoline-powered version when it comes to high altitude operations. All this is possible thanks to the specially-developed emission-free Pipistrel 40kilowatt electric power-train.” The clean sailplane design (40:1 glide ratio) allows full exploitation of the system.
Improvements in the motor and batteries contribute to this performance boost. The new motor weighs 11 kilograms (23.2 pounds), five less than the prototype’s unit, and generates 10 kW more power. Pipistrel notes, “Due to this 33 percent increase in power and 40 percent decrease in weight we developed a whole new propeller, which has proven to be more efficient than the version flying on the Taurus Electro Prototype.”
“The motor peaks at 40 kW for take-off and allows continuous climbing at 30 kW power. It is controlled by a specially developed power inverter/controller and governed by the cockpit ESYS-MAN instrument. All components are networked via CAN-bus, feature proprietary multilayer protection logic and produce a true throttle-by-wire experience.”
Customers can specify two levels of Lithium-technology batteries, “capable of launching the aeroplane to 1,200 meters (4000 feet) or 2,000 meters (6500 feet)”. The self-contained cells, are monitored by a proprietary “battery management system (BMS), compete with data-logging and battery health forecasting.”
The motor, batteries, and control and management system allow retrofits of existing fossil-fuel Taurus’s and will be available for use in other airframes.
The Taurus Electro G2 “G2 conforms to EU microlight standards as well as FAA ASTM standards for the airframe. Pipistrel is working with authorities to obtain full certification in the coming months.” Typical of other Pipistrel products, various other national certifications will follow.
The G2 “will make its first public appearance at AERO 2011 Friedrichshafen, where it will also compete for the Berblinger prize registered as D-METD.”
Pipistrel will also reveal the Solar Trailer, which it claims can charge the G2 in as little as five hours, permitting, in the company’s phrase, “Flying For Free.” Even during a week of bad weather, Pipistrel notes that the sailplane stored in its trailer would be ready for a weekend flight. A 3 kilowatt hour “buffer battery” allows storage of energy accumulated even when the airplane is flying, and a 120/220 Volt plug-in allows recharging during the night.
Pipistrel’s innovative approach continues with this development, and has the potential for showing new directions in future flight.