Pipistrel is selling the Alpha Electric's electric propulsion system for around 27,000 Euro (~$29,000)

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jandetlefsen

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Just stumbled upon this. Dunno if it's for sale yet but they are publishing their prices. Naked system costs 16,100 Euro and includes
  • Batteries complete with BMS, built in protections
  • High-efficiency power controller/inverter
  • System control module (communication & cockpit battery charger)
  • Advanced CANbus communication between units
  • Data logging
I clicked a configuration that includes nice to haves such as propeller, charger, EFIS and other basics and see a more realistic price of around 27,000 Euro. Pretty neat though since it's probably the most mature system on the market and a one stop shop kind of deal.

Any thoughts about this or ideas how to use it in a home build? Wonder if you could build a slippery single seater that fits the system and increase the 1h endurance of the Alpha.

 

12notes

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Just stumbled upon this. Dunno if it's for sale yet but they are publishing their prices. Naked system costs 16,100 Euro and includes
  • Batteries complete with BMS, built in protections
  • High-efficiency power controller/inverter
  • System control module (communication & cockpit battery charger)
  • Advanced CANbus communication between units
  • Data logging
I clicked a configuration that includes nice to haves such as propeller, charger, EFIS and other basics and see a more realistic price of around 27,000 Euro. Pretty neat though since it's probably the most mature system on the market and a one stop shop kind of deal.

Any thoughts about this or ideas how to use it in a home build? Wonder if you could build a slippery single seater that fits the system and increase the 1h endurance of the Alpha.

That's not the Alpha Electro system, it's for the Taurus motorglider, and has been for sale for quite a while. Check the battery capacity - 10.5 kWh, enough to run the 40 kW motor for a maximum 16 minutes at full throttle with zero reserve and probably damaging the battery discharging it that far. Realistically, in an ideal single seat, lightweight, slippery airframe, you might be able to get a 30-40 minute powered flight out of it, with a short full throttle climb, the rest spent at cruise, and a very minimal reserve (1 go around max).

The battery alone weighs 58kg (128 lbs), 40kW motor weighs 21kg (46 lbs), no weight is given for the controller or wires, it's going to be pretty close to 90 kg (200 lbs) installed weight. Battery weight scales pretty much directly with endurance, and too much weigh reduces endurance. Until batteries get significantly lighter, about 1 hour is the realistic limit for endurance in any reasonable airframe without gliding.

It is a pretty neat package, and I'm glad it's on the market, as long as you're ok with those limitations, it would make for a neat install. I'm thinking a super twitchy aerobatic monster would be a good choice for electric - one that performs aerobatics like a dream, but is exhausting to fly for more than 45 minutes or so. The battery weight could be distributed for quicker rotation in every axis, and the motor and prop optimized for lots of power on throttle and lots of regeneration off - making it draggier as needed on a downline. That's my personal opinion of the first "practical" GA electric aircraft.
 

mcrae0104

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The zero motorcycle FWF that you can buy from Mark @ thundergull aviation is ~ $8k for 7.2kWhr battery and ~ 45hp motor+BMS, charger, harness etc for ~ 125-135lbs. Every additional 3.6kWhr battery pack is $2k and 42lbs.
Speaking of Zero motorcycles... Electric Xenos
 

cheapracer

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poormansairforce

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Yup, and a visit to EVWest to see their EV conversion kit prices make the price above something of a joke.

From their website:
After mounting this kit, the only thing left is to add a battery system, including cables, fuses, and contactor box, and you are ready to drive your classic Porsche on all electric drive.

So you'll still need a battery.
 

jandetlefsen

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That's not the Alpha Electro system, it's for the Taurus motorglider
This used to be the case. However, there is now an option to configure it with a 3 bladed recuperating carbon prop (even for the 40 kW motor). This would not work in a retractable prop setup, the Taurus has a simple 2 blade wooden prop. Also a 60 kW motor and other battery sizes are available on request. If you configured it with 60 kW motor and the "other battery size" happened to be 21.0 kWh, you could end up with something very close to the Alpha system. Another hint is the EPSI system that is 5.7 inch vs 2.5 inch from the Taurus.

At least that is something they have not offered before.

I'm thinking a super twitchy aerobatic monster
Something like the Silence Twister Electric
 

cheapracer

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From their website:
After mounting this kit, the only thing left is to add a battery system, including cables, fuses, and contactor box, and you are ready to drive your classic Porsche on all electric drive.

So you'll still need a battery.
Nope, not for all, click on whichever you fancy and you will see what battery is including, the price is a giveaway, example:

 

poormansairforce

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saini flyer

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This used to be the case. However, there is now an option to configure it with a 3 bladed recuperating carbon prop (even for the 40 kW motor). This would not work in a retractable prop setup, the Taurus has a simple 2 blade wooden prop. Also a 60 kW motor and other battery sizes are available on request. If you configured it with 60 kW motor and the "other battery size" happened to be 21.0 kWh, you could end up with something very close to the Alpha system. Another hint is the EPSI system that is 5.7 inch vs 2.5 inch from the Taurus.

At least that is something they have not offered before.



Something like the Silence Twister Electric
The most reliable, inexpensive, simplest plug and play system is from zero. I still do not understand why all these aviation manufacturers need to work on their own system when an equivalent plug and play system exists, especially for LSA kind of aircrafts. Zero now covers a full range of motors power (45hp to 110hp) & battery capacity (3.6KWr to ~ 20KWhr+). There are very few business that manufacture airplane and engine respectively (Jabiru) so why not just concentrate on the airframe and constrain the design to use an existing proven powertrain!
 

12notes

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The most reliable, inexpensive, simplest plug and play system is from zero. I still do not understand why all these aviation manufacturers need to work on their own system when an equivalent plug and play system exists, especially for LSA kind of aircrafts. Zero now covers a full range of motors power (45hp to 110hp) & battery capacity (3.6KWr to ~ 20KWhr+). There are very few business that manufacture airplane and engine respectively (Jabiru) so why not just concentrate on the airframe and constrain the design to use an existing proven powertrain!
There doesn't seem to be an aircraft section of Zero's webpage, nor could I find any information about Thundergull Aviation having electric motors or the E-Gull for sale. The latest information I could find out about it from a year or so ago stated that Zero legally barred Thundergull permission to sell Zero motors for aviation. Perhaps you could link to where they are for sales or have some more current information?

I have no idea how Zero does the logic of their controller - if the batteries are low enough that continuing to use them could damage them or shorten their life considerably, does the controller shut the motor off? It would be a reasonable solution in the car, but might not be in a plane. Are there other shutdown conditions that would be unacceptable in flight? Can't really know without factory support and consent.

Some people would like a kit designed for aircraft, with some aircraft specific options, and with a manufacturer to call with any problems. I am not one of those people, I'm just using it as an example of why aviation manufacturers are making their own kits.
 

saini flyer

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There doesn't seem to be an aircraft section of Zero's webpage, nor could I find any information about Thundergull Aviation having electric motors or the E-Gull for sale. The latest information I could find out about it from a year or so ago stated that Zero legally barred Thundergull permission to sell Zero motors for aviation. Perhaps you could link to where they are for sales or have some more current information?

I have no idea how Zero does the logic of their controller - if the batteries are low enough that continuing to use them could damage them or shorten their life considerably, does the controller shut the motor off? It would be a reasonable solution in the car, but might not be in a plane. Are there other shutdown conditions that would be unacceptable in flight? Can't really know without factory support and consent.

Some people would like a kit designed for aircraft, with some aircraft specific options, and with a manufacturer to call with any problems. I am not one of those people, I'm just using it as an example of why aviation manufacturers are making their own kits.
Very good questions and I think Gabe does a pretty good job in explaining the zero system in the podcast here: http://www.sonexflight.com/71/sonexflight_e71_apr2020.mp3
This should answer your questions.
 

jandetlefsen

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I still do not understand why all these aviation manufacturers need to work on their own system when an equivalent plug and play system exists
I'm sure there is a market for more than one propulsion system. We also don't know how a Zero system holds up in aviation environment over longer periods of time. It may do well but there is so far zero data.
There are other aspects to it, for example the fact that Zero actively advocates against this type of use and might even do so legally. Now that does not matter if you are a home builder and find a salvaged motorbike motor and stick it into your plane. But could someone like Sonex recommend the use, build components around it and maybe even supply the motors? Probably not.
 
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