These are exciting days for aviation. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen transatlantic crossings made – for the first time! – on clean, renewable fuels. We’ve seen new developments in powertrain technology, and we’ve seen daring pilots in featherweight electric planes push themselves to new limits and new speeds …
… and here we are again: a team from Stuttgart, Germany – flying an electric plane called the eGenius – has set a new milestone for electric aviation after averaging over 100 mph for just over two hours.
The eGenius is, essentially, a motorized glider propelled by an 80 hp electric motor mounted to its tail – a configuration that allows for a larger, more efficient propeller. Go-juice for the motor is supplied by a 56 kWh battery pack that the team insists had power left in reserves after their 211 mile all-electric flight.
The flight was a test for the upcoming NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge. The contest rewards speed and endurance, based on the number of people aboard. A top prize of $1.3 million is up for grabs.