Following its April debut at Aero Friedrichshafen, the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Aircraft Design has flown its eGenius electric motor glider, first on a 20min maiden sortie to check handling and prove its 60kW propulsion system and later for 2h 36min with no thermal lift.
Based on the institute's earlier fuel cell-powered Hydrogenius project, the Airbus-sponsored eGenius is being developed for the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency Foundations' Green Flight Challenge for quiet, practical aircraft, to be held on 11-17 July at Charles M Schulz Sonoma County airport in Santa Rosa, California, near San Francisco.
NASA is offering a $1.65 million prize, claimed to be the largest-ever for civil aviation, with the challenge being to fly 320km (170nm) in less than 2h using the energy equivalent of less than 3.8 litres (1USgal) of gasoline per occupant, or 1.18 litre/100km. Aircraft entered feature gasoline, bio-diesel, hydrogen and electric propulsion.
For eGenius, the claimed equivalent energy consumption per 100km is just 0.6 litres. Wingspan is 16.86m (55ft) and maximum take-off weight is 850kg (1.870lb). Two pilots can sit side-by-side.
Data from the project will be used by Airbus's future projects team as part of its evaluation of the long-term potential of electricity as alternative major onboard energy source.