At 2nd UBER elevate summit Pipistrel reveals new eVTOL Concept and strategic partnership with Elan. New concept utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for vertical lift.
[LOS ANGELES, California, 8 May 2018]
At Los Angeles UBER’s second Annual Elevate Summit, Igor Perkon and Tine Tomazic presented Pipistrel’s new eVTOL concept. The new aircraft utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft styled family approach of eVTOL able to carry between 2 to 6 passengers.
As part of its broader Elevate Aviation Initiative, UBER plans to operate a network of small, electric aircraft in numerous cities around the globe to enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated urban regions. These electric, vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) differ from helicopters in that they are significantly quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly.
The new Pipistrel eVTOL concept, developed as a partner of the UBER Elevate program, will fly longer distances and at higher speeds than previous models. Utilizing a new integrated vertical lift system the vehicle is designed for scalability and will lower operating costs while offering an upgraded rider experience.
Pipistrel is a long-time leader in aircraft design and production. In 2011 they won the NASA Green Flight Challenge, which was the largest aviation prize in history totaling at $1.5 million. Their electric G4 concept was able to fly up to four passengers 100 miles at an average speed of 108 mph. Located in Slovenia, Pipistrel is producing 13 different models of two- and four-seat aircraft, among which the Alpha Electro and the Taurus Electro feature all-electric propulsion. Pipistrel recently developed the Panthera aircraft, a high performance four-seat general aviation aircraft with modular propulsion systems, available as fully electric, hybrid and fuel powered.
Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel’s founder and General Manager said: “Pipistrel is not trying to reinvent the helicopter by giving the vehicle many rotors, we are instead embracing dedicated propulsion solutions for cruise and vertical lift with built-in scaling capability for a family of vehicles with two to six seats. Pairing an innovative integrated vertical lift system, which is quiet and efficient and with highly aerodynamic wings results in a new class of eVTOL that maximizes high-speed cruise performance and dramatically lowers cost of operation for a clear advantage to UBER Elevate passengers.”
Mark Moore, UBER’s Director of Engineering – Elevate Vehicle Systems said: “Pipistrel has been one of the pioneers in electric aircraft development, initiating the age of electric flight. As an Uber Elevate partner, their eVTOL concept is pushing towards the next generation of Distributed Electric Propulsion. We’re thrilled to continue our work with Pipistrel, and look forward to bringing this concept to the Elevate network.”
At the conference Pipistrel also unveiled strategic partnership with Elan, a Slovenian-based global developer, producer and supplier of sporting equipment featuring high-technology advanced composite components and wind-power technology.
During his presentation of the eVTOL design, Tine Tomazic, Pipistrel Director of R&D, said: “Today we’re announcing a strategic partnership with company Elan, a Slovenian company, they’re 1 hour’s drive from us and they have mastered the production of composite materials and structures in the 50+ years of existence, at massive scales. Elan is producing everything from sports equipment to tens of thousands of windmill power plant components yearly. And together we are developing the design of a eVTOL structure that is scalable. Building-in automation, building-in digital manufacturing high speed RTM composite construction and other things. This is how we believe we stand a chance of going from where we are today with the concept design into the future.”
Jeffrey Tirman, Elan CEO stated: “Elan is thrilled to be partnering with Pipistrel to bring more than 50 years’ experience working with advanced composites to the highly demanding and technical application requirements of the Uber eVTOL project. Elan’s ability to develop ultra-lightweight and super-strong composite materials for the eVTOL vehicle will help contribute to longer flight times and heavier payloads, thereby enhancing the overall experience for all involved.”
Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel’s founder and General Manager stated:”Pipistrel is not only a world-leading innovative designer but also a certified aircraft manufacturer. That is why our ambitions regarding the cooperation with Uber are not only in developing the design for the air vehicle, but also in large-scale production of it.This the strategic partnering with Elan, who have been one of the original pioneers of composite technology used in aviation and has experience with mass production technologies of composites in a world-leading facility, will enable fast implementation of large-scale production of composite components for the Pipistrel air vehicle.”
About Uber Elevate:
Last year in April, Uber announced that the first U.S. Elevate cities would be be Dallas-Fort Worth/Frisco Texas and L.A. with a goal of flight demonstrations in 2020 and Elevate commercially available to riders in 2023 in those cities. To make UberAIR a reality, Uber has entered into partnerships several highly experienced aircraft manufacturers who are developing electric VTOL vehicles including: Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer and Bell Helicopter.
Last fall, Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA for the development of new Unmanned Traffic Management concepts and Unmanned Aerial Systems that will enable safe and efficient operations at low altitudes. To help create skyports for the UberAIR network, Uber has also entered into real estate partnerships with Hillwood Properties and Sandstone Properties. Uber’s analysis projects that an electric vehicle will travel at a speed up to 200mph and that eventually after several years in a market an Uber Elevate ride will cost the same as an UberX trip of the same distance.
Pipistrel is a world leading small aircraft designer and producer, specialized in electric-powered aircraft. With almost 30 years of experience Pipistrel has gained significant international reputation and delivered unique, innovative products to passionate customers on all continents. First to fly an electric two-seater in 2007 and first-to-fly an electric four-seat airplane which went on to win the NASA Green Flight Challenge in 2011, Pipistrel has produced more than 1,500 aircraft to-date. The Pipistrel Vertical Solutions team has designed eight different electric aircraft since 2007 and have developed aircraft propulsion systems for NASA and Siemens’s aircraft. The company holds an EASA Design Organisation Approval and has the capability of bringing a new aircraft design concept from a basic idea into a certified design, ready for production.
Elan d.o.o., founded in 1945, is a diversified advanced composites company based in Slovenia. Elan’s four main divisions focus on:
i) advanced and highly-technical components utilised in offshore renewable energy and other speciality industries,
ii) winter sporting equipment, where Elan is a world recognised innovator and leader,
iii) advanced high-performance racing and leisure sailing yachts, and
iv) engineered seating solutions for large arena and stadium projects world-wide.
All Elan’s divisions are devoted to technical development and progressive product design through innovative approach and advanced technology applications. In the last decade, Elan has been awarded more than 40 international awards for design, innovation and technology, including several RedDot Design Awards and the PlusX Award for Most innovative Brand of Sports Equipment.