Pipistrel is a Slovenia light aircraft manufacturer founded in 1989. Pipistrel originally began manufacturing powered hang gliders. The hang gliders were discontinued in the early 2000s. In 2007, Pipistrel introduced the world’s first 100% electric powered two (2) seat glider and the first to achieve production. In 2015, Pipistrel developed the Alapha Electro, an all-electric plane or electric Conventional Take-Off and Landing (eCTOL) aircraft for training with a 1 hour flight duration with an energy reserve.
According to one article, electricity for their aircraft costs are about 1/10 of gasoline. Pipistrel has been making batteries in-house to ensure the quality of batteries are up to their strict standards. The batteries charge fairly quickly and they can be changed-out in (five) 5 minutes or less.
Pipistrel publicly announced its 801 eVTOL passenger aircraft at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C., USA, in June 2019, made specifically for Uber Air and that it meets Uber’s requirements for aircraft manufacturers, to produce all electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
However, as of November 26, 2019, as reported in eVTOL Magazine, Pipistrel is not going to be working on their UAM eVTOL right now but instead focusing on a hybrid-electric cargo drone. “Pipistrel is not “neglecting” its eVTOL air taxi, just shifting focus to take advantage of near-term business opportunities. The company expects to be able to apply insights from its cargo drone program to further development of the 801.”
The Pipestril Cargo Drone pictures and most features are not available for the public at this time but we know that it is similar to the 801 eVTOL passenger aircraft.
The Cargo Drone has as a hybrid-electric power source, a tandem-wing design (instead of one main wing), has a pusher propeller, has four (4) shrouded electric VTOL fans on each side of the fuselage (for a total of eight (8) electric fans).
The range of the Cargo Drone currently has about 300 km (186 miles), which might be extended) and has a maximum payload weight of 300 kilograms (661 lbs). The company expects to have a 20,000 hour service life for the aircraft. Their goal is to have it flying in 2020 and begin production in 2022.
Pipistrel feels their cargo drone will be very suited for cargo and humanitarian aid delivery. Then after the public sees the value of cargo drones and the public sees it's importance, Pipistrel will then begin to manufacture passenger eVTOL aircraft. According to information provided at an Uber Summit in 2017, the company is also developing another aircraft that is yet unnamed
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electic VTOL cargo aircraft
- Piloting: Unknown
- Passengers: 0
- Range: 300 km (186 miles)
- Maximum payload weight of 300 kilograms (661 lbs)
- Forward flight propulsion: Pusher propeller
- VTOL flight: 8 electric shrouded fans (4 shrouded electric VTOL fans on each side of the fuselage)
- Power source: Hybrid-electric
- Service life: 20,000 hours