A team of German researchers have set a new milestone for electric aviation after averaging more than 100 mph for a little more than two hours in the electric powered eGenius.
"The eGenius is essentially a motor glider with a high aspect ratio wing spanning more than 55 feet. A 60 kilowatt (80.5 horsepower) motor is mounted on the tail, allowing for a larger, more efficient propeller. Power is supplied by a 56 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The team didn’t say how much power it used during the flight, but said it still had juice in the pack upon landing.
Pilot and project leader Karl Kaeser took off with engineer Steffen Geinitz from their home base in Mindleheim, Germany. After climbing to 4,000 feet, the pair flew several laps between two nearby towns for a total of 211 miles. The average speed was just a shade over an impressive (for an electric aircraft) 100 mph. Not quite as fast as the record-setting electric Cri-Cri, but anything it lacks in speed it makes up for in range.
The eGenius project began in 2007 at the University of Stuttgart. A sponsorship from Airbus allowed the group to begin building the airplane in October. "
The University of Stuttgart team is preparing for the 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.
Airbus has been the main sponsor for the eGenius team.