Back in 2007, a small Slovenian start-up called, Pipistrel, set a challenge and took on the task to make a difference. Their aim was to cut at least a little bit of that annual 13% of CO2 emissions pumped in the atmosphere by the aviation sector. The approach was to develop a small, light airplane, which is 100% electric and very easy to operate.
Now, not even a decade later, the guys behind Pipistrel, are celebrating a huge victory. Their airplane- Taurus Electro, is selling like hot bread, while the company is a leader on the global market for energy-efficient aviation travel. The founder and CEO of Pipistrel, Ivo Boscarol, is even on the list of the most influential Europeans for 2015. Every year, they get an order of roughly 20 Taurus Electro‘s, which are made in the company’s own factory in the small Slovenian town of Ajdovscina.
So, where is the secret (you might ask?). Well, it is the eco-friendliness, the simplicity of the design, the light materials, the easy operation and maintenance, and of course- the huge dedication and perseverance of the inventors. Now, some more details.
Taurus Electro is a two-seater, light weight, full electric airplane, which is extremely easy to operate and cheap to maintain. It has two buttons, one is “on” and one “off”. When it reaches an altitude of 2,000 metres (6,500 feet), the engine retracts and the plane becomes a sailplane. The maintenance cost is about 70 cents per hour, which makes it about ten times cheaper to maintain that its rivals. This is also what justifies the seemingly high price of the machine- 110,000-euro ($120,770).
The electric airplane is equipped with a very light, and fire-resistant Li-ion battery. The energy storage system of the plane is revolutionary, especially because it is both efficient and light-weight, as described by Jure Tomaciz, an engineer at Pipistrel.
Of course, the guys behind the incredible machine are far away from being finished. After the huge success of the two-seater Taurus Electro, the aim is to concur the four-seater business. The first prototype, Taurus G4, was given NASA’s prestigious Green Flight award in 2011, worth $1.35 million. It was able to fly the incredible 650km (400 miles) in two hours, at an average speed of 172 kilometers per hour.
Commenting on this incredible achievement, Pipistrel’s CEO could only say that his engineers were able to achieve something that rich car industry has been trying to do for years. As he points out, no electric car can take four passengers on a 600 kilometers e-drive at a speed of 200 km/h. Fact!
Image (c) AFP Photo/Jure Makovec/AFP