Actually, of the three teams that met the requirements for the challenge, two of them managed to complete the 200 mile circuit using half the required energy equivalent. The Green Flight Challenge asked teams to make a 200 mile flight in less than two hours, deliver a decibel level of less than 78 dBA, and take off in a distance of less than 2,000 feet while using the energy equivalent of less than one gallon of gasoline per-passenger.
The winning team was Pipistrel-USA.com, who won $1.35 million with their twin-fusalage Taurus G4 motor glider. It used a 145 kw electric motor, lithiuim-ion batteries, and a retractable landing gear. And while I don’t expect to take an international flight on an electric airplane anytime soon…these little puddle jumpers could certainly have their place hopping from city to city.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.