Pipistrel just rolled out the world’s most powerful electric aircraft — and it’s the first to seat four people. The Taurus G4 required two years of preparation and development, but took just four months to build. Its uniquely aerodynamic design connects two Taurus G2 lightweight gliders with a 15 ft. wide electric engine.
The concept aircraft carries many of the advantages originating in the microlight world. Its lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar construction gives it many of the qualities of a glider, while a 1,036 lb. lithium polymer battery pack combined with a powerful electric propulsion drivetrain make it ultra-efficient.
The aircraft has an empty weight of 2,348 pounds, with nearly half of that consisting of electric batteries. With a maximum passenger weight of 3,300 pounds, the plane is virtually guaranteed to hold four people and their extra baggage.
Unlike the Taurus Electro G2, which has seen some success in commercial market, the G4 is a prototype that will never see commercial production. Instead, it will be used to develop the motor, battery and power management system for a hybrid and electric version of the Panthera.
The Taurus Electro G4 will compete in NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge against at least 13 other teams for $1.65 million in prize money. Entrants are expected to fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of less than one gallon of gasoline per occupant. The competition begins on September 25.
Images courtesy of Pipistrel