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Electric Engine

E-Aircraft Manufacturers

A number of companies are developing electric power plants for aircraft, basically for powered gliders and small ultralight aircraft. In most of these designs the power plant is of secondary importance and the aircraft can fly, or better, glide considerable distances without an engine purely by its basic aerodynamic properties.

Developments are in progress to electrify some every day general aviation class aircraft or even new designs. Because of many limitations to overcome, large scale applications will not come any time soon. The main problem is energy storage: liquid fuel (Mogas, AVgas or Jet fuel) has the highest energy density per weight, which is very hard to beat, except for nuclear fission or fusion. This will limit the range of any aircraft trying to fly any considerable amount of time or distance with a worthwhile payload.

On this page we line up those manufacturers. The list may very well be not complete and some might even have disappeared altogether, but here it is.



Electric & Hybrid Aircraft

Pipistrel d.o.o.

Slovenian small two seat trainer production e-aircraft with two battery packs, one hour endurance plus 30 min reserve. Learn more about this aircraft on our page here. The company is also planning a hybrid Panthera powered by a Rotax 914 and generator, battery and propeller driven by an electric motor.

Magnus eFusion

The Magnus company is based in Hungary and they manufacture the eFusion in cooperation with Siemens. The first eFusion has made its maiden flight on April 11, 2016. Its performance is comparable to a Rotax 912s powered Fusion. Not much information is available on the company website.


MagniX Aero

MagniX develops high power density electric motors to power aircraft. They envision open skies, allowing people to embark on journeys and packages to be delivered. Makes me wonder what we have been doing the last 100 years or so as air travel is doing just that. They also claim emission free. Well, where do they think the electricity is coming from to power these motors as renewable energy has a mere 1% share in the total energy production of the world.

Products

The company has two electric motors available: the magni250 with a power of 280 kW and the magni500: a 560 kW model. They also fabricate an electronic drive unit. More technical information on the company website.

Electric DHC-2 Beaver

MagniX has equipped a deHavilland Beaver DHC-2 with their magni500 (560 kW / 750 hp) electric motor and battery pack. This model aircraft is being used by Harbour Air Seaplanes in Richmond, British Columbia Canada on short haul trips of around 30 minutes. The engine is derated to 450 hp drives a 4-bladed Hartzell propeller and the battery pack (filling the cabin of the prototype to its maximum weight) supplies the energy for the 15 min flight and has 25 min reserve. They also plan to convert the Otter to electric drive too, but then the motor will configured to supply maximum power. FAA certification is in the works. For more details see the website of Harbour Air.

Eviation Alice

Is a company based in Israel developing a nine (9) place fully electric commuter style aircraft (Alice) with the looks of a shark. It is powered by three (3) engines, one at each wing tip and one in the tail, pusher style configuration. More information on their website.

Their prototype aircraft was substantially damaged in a battery system fire in January 2020, with the exact cause and damage unknown at the end of Jan, 2020. More in this article from AVweb.

The engines and drive electronics are made by the same company that installed the engine in the Beaver and Otter: MagniX Aero.


Bye Aerospace, eFlyer

The company is developing the eFlyer, two seat (four seat in the works) since 2014. The engine used in these aircraft is from Siemens. More information on their website.

Ampaire

This California based company is using a Cessna 337 SkyMaster and they have removed the rear engine, installing a battery powered electric engine to reduce emissions and noise. It's one of the largest hybrid aircraft to date (their claim in 2019). They also say the third revolution in aviation being electric. We can only hope they know something about battery physics (that we don't) making this possible. More here on the website.


Yuneec E430

Yuneec International E430 was in 2009 developing the E430 which is a twin seat, single engine, LSA class aircraft with a significant difference to every commercially available plane that has come before it – it's entirely electric. The lightweight composite-construction E430 charges in three hours from a domestic 230 volt power point and runs for two and half hours on a charge.

More info

Wing Span: 13.8 m (45.2 ft), Fuselage Length: 6.68 m (21.9 ft), Empty Weight:178 kg (392 lbs) (No Battery), Maximum Takeoff Weight: 430 kg (946 lbs), Motor Output: 40 kw (54 hp) @ 2,450 RPM, Battery Type: Lithium Polymer, Battery Weight: 72 kg (158.5 lbs) (6 Packs). Information from https://newatlas.com/yuneec-e430-electric-aircraft/12036/

written by EAI.