Pipistrel — a company in Slovenia (bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest) has been leading the way in electric aviation worldwide since 2011, when it won the $1.35 million NASA Green Flight Challenge. more : http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/early_stage_innovation/centennial_challenges/general_aviation/
Remember the name — Pipistrel (sic ‘Pipistrelle’, a small bat with a very large range found all over Europe and North Africa). Their aircraft are stunningly futuristic, efficient and excellent platforms for the development of electric flight. It should be noted, however, that they are waiting, like all companies developing these airframes, for Federal Aviation Administration approval. (Have you seen the t-shirt ?”FAA–If You’re Not Happy, We’re Not Happy).
The company developed an electric motor glider called the Taurus Electro, still available on their U.S. website: Then, a light sport called the “Watts Up”, which after they sobered up, they renamed “Alpha Electro”. This is the aircraft being planned for the Sustainable Aviation Project in San Joaquin Valley, California.
What has been available since 2011, and very important to electric aircraft builders around the world, is the company’s ‘Plug N’ Play’ Electric Drivetrain. It is likely the system that will be integrated into most electric Light Sport aircraft in the U.S., (like the Sun Flyer?), and studying it makes it easy to understand just how an electric aircraft is designed, to whit:
Pipistrel Plug-and-Play Electric Propulsion System
“The award-winning electric propulsion system of the Taurus Electro G2 is now available for plug-and-play third party integration.
The system includes everything you need: 40 KW motor, power controller, batteries and BMS, charger, cockpit instrument, propeller, data logging and CANbus information exchange network. The system is scalable and is initially offered in 2 configurations, also supporting automatic motor arm retraction for self-launching glider applications. Order today…….” http://www.pipistrel-usa.com/electric/elec.html
Let’s check out the schematic for their drivetrain — as with most electric drivetrains, the beauty is in their simplicity, therefore reliability and ease of use. Not much more complex than an electric golf cart. (We don’t include Teslas in that statement. They are rolling mainframes disguised as Ferraris).