The eGenius, an electric glider devised by a team from the University of Stuttgart, has set a new record for electric aviation by maintaining an average speed of 100mph over two hours. The result of the exercise saw the craft push the boundaries of what an electric aircraft has been able to do in terms of speed and endurance.
The electric aircraft e-Genius developed at the Institute of Aircraft Design of the University of Stuttgart under leadership of Professor Voit-Nitschmann flew 211 mi. within 2 hours at a consumption of 260 mpg and seat. The flight took place in fine weather on June 15 th2011 from Mindelheim airfield, Germany.
The history of manned electric flight dates back in 1973 when the Austrian Heino Brditschka flew his converted MB-E1 for 14 minutes on October 21 1973.
Electric aircraft are a major field of research at the Institute of Aircraft Design of the University of Stuttgart already since the beginning of the solar-powered motorglider project Icaré in 1994. With the e-Genius now performances could be demonstrated which were formerly reserved for conventionally powered aircraft while being more efficient than any other aircraft before.
The e-Genius is derived from Hydrogenius project which won the Berblinger Prize 2006. The prize-winning concept was optimized by the University of Stuttgart’s aircraft design specialists for a team of solar flight pioneer Eric Raymond to participate in the NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge.
When pilot and production manager Karl Kaeser and systems engineer Steffen Geinitz took off for another test flight from Mindelheim/Germany, a new chapter was added to the history of electric flight. The record breaking flight began at 11:58 a.m. with the take-off from the facilities of the Grob Aircraft AG which kindly provides the e-Genius team with its company’s airfield and workshops. After the take-off the e-Genius climbed to 4000ft and then was flown legs between Bad Woerishofen and Thannhausen until the landing at 2:03 p.m.
After 211 mi. and 2 hours of faultless operation of aircraft and electrical system the e-Genius was pushed back into its hangar and recharged for further test flights later that day.
During the flight less than 56 kWh of electric energy was consumed. This equals a consumption of car gasoline of 260 mpg and seat. The average speed was approximately 100mph.
The propulsion system exclusively developed for the e-Genius has a power of 60 kW and a battery capacity of 56 kWh. The total weight of the propulsion system consisting of motor, motor controller, battery and battery monitoring system and safety systems is only 741 lb.
The financial support of honorary senator of the University of Stuttgart Arthur Fischer enabled the beginning of the development in 2007. Further support from Airport Stuttgart and the University allowed the core team to continue the work. Finally with the sponsoring from Airbus in fall 2010, the production of the e-Genius was started. Since the beginning of the production phase in October 2010 until the first flight on May 25 2001 the two-seated airplane as well as the entire propulsion system were produced, tested and put in operation within only 8 months.
This exceptional achievement was only possible through the tireless efforts of the team consisting of students, researchers and employees of the University of Stuttgart and external specialists which worked numerous nights and weekends to realize this project within this short period
In order to further optimize the aircraft and to fly new records the team is still looking for further sponsors. For sure the history of electric flight will be amended by one or another chapter by the e-Genius.