Paris 2011: Battery-powered eGenius Explores Electric Flight

 - June 19, 2011, 6:07 AM

Looking more like a glider than an airplane, the two-seat, battery-powered eGenius made its first flight on May 25, from Mindelheim airfield in Bavaria, Germany. Designed by the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, the concept aircraft flew for 20 minutes powered by a 60kW electric motor.

The design parameters of the eGenius airplane includes a max takeoff weight of 1,874 pounds, a cruise speed of up to 127 knots, and a range of 216 nm. Its wingspan is just over 55 feet. The airplane consumes 4.75kW of power (the equivalent of about 0.6 liters of gasoline) per 100 km.

“Our most important goal was to demonstrate the efficiency of a modern electric aircraft without making any compromises and not being willing to accept economizing with the flight performance in terms of today’s state-of-the-art technology,” said Professor Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann of the University of Stuttgart. Further flight testing of eGenius will serve to verify its performance and the reliability of electric propulsion.

The composite airplane’s variable-pitch propeller is mounted on the vertical stabilizer. The landing gear is retractable, the batteries are stored behind the pilots’ seats and the pilots have an unobstructed view forward and to the sides.

Airbus, the main sponsor of the eGenius project, is examining the long-term potential of electricity as a major source of energy onboard aircraft. The company’s Future Projects teams will analyze data from the aircraft to further develop technology and better understand opportunities.

The public debut of the airplane took place Aero-Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April.