Pipistrel Reveals Electric eVTOL Concept

MAY 12 2018 BY MARK KANE 8

Pipistrel Aircraft presented at the 2nd Uber Elevate Summit its electric eVTOL Concept that in a few years could become reality.

Pipistrel eVTOL Concept

The concept is equipped witha  dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft-styled family approach of eVTOL being able to carry between 2 and 6 passengers.

eVTOL are vertical take-off and landing vehicles with electric propulsion, but significantly quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly than helicopters.

Slovenia-based Pipistrel is one of several manufacturers that are interested in Uber’s plan to operate a network of small, electric aircraft in numerous cities around the globe to enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated urban regions.

Read Also – ChargePoint Reveals 2 MW Charging Connector for eVTOLs

First demonstrations flights of UberAIR are expected in 2020, while  2023 is slated as the timeframe for it being commercially available to riders in Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco Texas and L.A. 

“The new Pipistrel eVTOL concept, developed as a partner of the UBER Elevate program, will fly longer distances and at higher speeds than previous models. Utilizing a new integrated vertical lift system the vehicle is designed for scalability and will lower operating costs while offering an upgraded rider experience.

Pipistrel is a long-time leader in aircraft design and production. In 2011 they won the NASA Green Flight Challenge, which was the largest aviation prize in history totaling at $1.5 million. Their electric G4 concept was able to fly up to four passengers 100 miles at an average speed of 108 mph. Located in Slovenia, Pipistrel is producing 13 different models of two- and four-seat aircraft, among which the Alpha Electro and the Taurus Electro feature all-electric propulsion. Pipistrel recently developed the Panthera aircraft, a high performance four-seat general aviation aircraft with modular propulsion systems, available as fully electric, hybrid and fuel powered.”

Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel’s founder and General Manager said:

“Pipistrel is not trying to reinvent the helicopter by giving the vehicle many rotors, we are instead embracing dedicated propulsion solutions for cruise and vertical lift with built-in scaling capability for a family of vehicles with two to six seats. Pairing an innovative integrated vertical lift system, which is quiet and efficient and with highly aerodynamic wings results in a new class of eVTOL that maximizes high-speed cruise performance and dramatically lowers cost of operation for a clear advantage to UBER Elevate passengers.”

Mark Moore, UBER’s Director of Engineering – Elevate Vehicle Systems said:

“Pipistrel has been one of the pioneers in electric aircraft development, initiating the age of electric flight. As an Uber Elevate partner, their eVTOL concept is pushing towards the next generation of Distributed Electric Propulsion. We’re thrilled to continue our work with Pipistrel, and look forward to bringing this concept to the Elevate network.”

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8 Comments on "Pipistrel Reveals Electric eVTOL Concept"

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You need reformer fuel cells for range, weight is everything in aviation, that should be obvious.

Why this agenda? Batteries are good enough for the use case and getting better all the time. Plus they’re cheaper.

Batteries are NO where near the energy density of liquid fuels. There is no “agenda” there is only truth.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Batteries don’t have the energy density of liquid fuel, but electric vehicles don’t squander much of that energy density as waste heat.

At the end of the day, batteries don’t have to have the same energy density as liquid fuels if they’re managing to convert ~90% of stored potential energy into kinetic energy.

Now, that means finding a sweet spot for power density of batteries. Supposedly an energy density of ~400wh/kg is the point at which battery powered flight becomes widely feasible.

Current batteries don’t have that density, but given developments in the aviation industry, niche applications are already beginning to be tested and approved by the FAA.

400-watt-hour per kilogram density and it is over…..

Hope this comes to pass.

You have less weight and much longer range with fuel cells.
It makes no sense to lift 2000 pounds of batteries.

Except that charging the batteries costs next to nothing and fuel cells… well I imagine Hydrogen infrastructure and ongoing costs are likely to be significantly more expensive than a plug.
If a battery gives you the range you need then a battery is probably the best solution.
If you want to go further or lift more, then sure look at alternatives.