On February 9, the world-renowned Slovenian airplane manufacturer Pipistrel successfully launched its most powerful airplane hybrid powertrain up to now. With its 200 kW, it matches the power of piston engines that are usually found in general aviation aircraft.
The main components of the new hybrid powertrain were developed by Siemens, Pipistrel's partner in the project, along with MBVision, the Pisa University in the Maribor University joining as co-partners. The project was partially financed from the EU grant and introduced to aviation-savvy audience at the E2 Fliegen Symposoum in Stuttgart. All the developed components of the hybrid powertrain are said to represent the highest technological products aviation powertrains can offer today.
The powerplant consists of two vital parts, the first one being an electric motor with 200 kW peak and 150 kW permanent power, and the other one a 100 kW electric generator that excells with 5 kW/kg power density. Some of their main characteristics we need to mention are double winding of wires and four power regulators that ensure high reliability of the power system.
Developers put a lot of attention to creating the kind of user interface that simplifies rather than complicates system management. Hence, there is only one handle with haptic response to regulate the power system and an integrated multipurpose display to control the functioning of the system; both were developed as part of the project, as well as a new silent five blade airscrew with optimal efficiency at low revolutions and batteries that you can drain quickly.
After extensive lab tests, the hybrid powertrain was installed into the Panthera aircraft and succesfully tested at the headquarters of Pipistrel in Ajdovščina, Slovenia. In the next few months, intensive testing including simulation in all regimes of flight is planned.