This Beautiful Electric Plane Is Like An Airborne Tesla

Recently unveiled at the Aero Expo in Freidrichshafen, Germany, Pipistel's new Panthera four-seater plane can be ordered with a standard, albeit highly efficient, gas engine. But it's also available in an all-electric model for those preferring an aircraft that produces less air and noise pollution.

Understandably, the Electro edition, which will rely solely on state-of-the-art electric batteries, has a considerably shorter range than the gas model. About 400km compared to 1850km on fossil fuels. But charging it at the airport should be considerably cheaper than filling a fuel tank. And since most people will probably be leery about flying in an electric plane given the stories of electric cars randomly stopping, the Panthera comes equipped with a high-speed full airframe parachute system which will deliver it safely back to Earth if there's a problem.

Besides a slick streamlined design, the inside of the Panthera includes generously sized touchscreen aviation instruments, front seats that look like they were lifted from a luxury sports car, and extra wide back seats for added passenger comfort. And since you'll be landing quite often given its limited range, there's also plenty of storage space for luggage since you'll probably be spending a lot of time in hotels waiting for it recharge. [Pipistrel via Born Rich]


    That thing looks gorgeous!
    I can't imagine travel would be too feasible however. Do we know the approximate charge times for the electric model?

    Looking at the linger information they also have a hybrid model. (Electric motor, with fuel powered generator.)

    I haven't found the range details on that yet, but if it has plug-in charging and can be all-electric for short-range hops, but still capable of longer trips that would be ideal in my book.

      Just found the specs - Hybrid has a range of 1220 km / 660 NM with 4 passengers. (Directly equivalent stats to ranges mentioned in the article.)

    After so many years, why aren't fuel cells mainstream yet? They would suit this application perfectly if they could get the weight and size right.

    400 Kms is not far in Australia. Is that the suggested travel distance with safety buffers or max distance?

      Yeah... I drove twice that distance yesterday.

    Wow sign of the times, 8 comments and no one has posted any lame jokes about "long extension chords". You mean electricity powered transport is becoming *gasp* mainstream???

    Even more tacky shit from Andrew Liszewski

      Apparently we just had to wait for the 9th comment for the trolls.

      Nobody cares anymore, Steve.

    That is actually quite impressive!
    Yes 400km/200 odd nautical miles isn't a huge range, but it is a massive cost saving. A 4-seat single engine certified aircraft would burn (back of the envelope calculation here) about $100 worth of AVGAS to go those 200 nautical miles. On top of that would be the maintenance costs of the engine (oil, spark plugs, regular services, and the rebuild at TBO which can cost well over $30k).

    Bring on electric aircraft...which will hopefully make general aviation affordable to everyone again!

    "albeit highly efficient, gas engine". Man, did you get that wrong! The American engines used in most 4-seat light aeroplanes, including this one, are profoundly INNEFFICIENT. They use pushrod-operated valves, magneto ignition and are actually designed to burn oil because when these engines were originally designed, between 1929 and 1935, that was the only way the designers could ensure upper cylinder lubrication. The engine used in this aeroplane is rated at 180 BHP and uses far more fuel per hour than a modern engines. And they are heavy because they are made of steel.

    A modern motor car engine runs rings around these ancient engines, no matter how much they have been pimped, and they have been.

    The new Aeroplane is beautiful and really deserves a much better engine than it has been provided with.

    I am more intersted in the actual flight of the craft, I am quite curious about how quiet it would be, just the sound of the prop cutting the air and the air rushing over the body and wings, it would be quite surreal, and possibly quite scary for anyone that has experienced an engine die in a prop aircraft before (not me).

    Aircraft engines are very different to car engines for very good reasons. Simplicity is king in guaranteeing reliability (obviously important when you cant just pull over) and modern car engines are far from simple. The (approximate) 10L per 100km travelled consumption with the Lycoming is comparable with most large cars but you travel at 200 knots! Porshe tried developing an aircraft engine out of their air cooled flat six engines and failed. So all in all, I think Andrews original statements were fair and accurate.

    I had no interest in flying a plane until now. Do you still need to be good at maths?

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