The Yuneec E430

Electric aircraft are very much at the Kitty Hawk/Wright Flyer stage of development and to give you an idea of how interesting this space is, the first commercially available electric aircraft is almost certainly going to be the The Yuneec E430 (pronounced “unique”). Yuneec is a mainland chinese manufacturer of electric remote controlled helicopters, essentially toys (albeit toys that can potentially decapitate a grown man), so a foray into commercial full scale aircraft production is a big step, significantly bigger than it would be for a company like Cessna or Beechcraft. Why is this?

Well I would hazard a guess that it is because the big manufacturers have looked at the electric aircraft space and decided that the technology is still to immature for the production of an electric aircraft to be a cost effective option. They might be right. But I don’t think so. The benefits of electric motor powered flight are very significant, you just ask any private plane owner how much he spends on engine maintenance and fuel and he or she will recount costs in the thousands of dollars per year. With an electric motor your engine maintenance costs drop to almost zero and your fuel costs drop to perhaps a hundred dollars a year. Suddenly private plane ownership opens up to a huge number of people who simply couldn’t afford it before. The drawbacks are the usual suspects, battery capacity and battery weight. These problems are becoming less and less significant every year (we are seeing a capacity increase of about 10% per year with litium ion battery technology) and so in the current decade we can expect huge increases in the viability of all electric aircraft.

The only thing I don’t understand about the Yuneec E430 is why they haven’t put solar cells on the wings. With the massive wing area the solar cells could actually achieve something. Oh well. Maybe on the E440.

E430 Specifications:
Wing Span: 13.8 m (45.2 ft)
Fuselage Length: 6.68 m (21.9 ft)
Empty Weight: 178 kg (392 lbs) (No Battery)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 430 kg (946 lbs)
Motor Output: 40 kw (54 hp) @ 2,450rpm
Battery Type: Lithium Polymer
Battery Weight (6 Packs): 72 kg (158.5 lbs)
Manufacturers Product Description
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Electric flight, once seen as futuristic, has arrived and with E430’s flight times of between 1.5 and 3 hours (depending on configuration) electric flight now becomes a realistic power source for sport aviation.
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Charging times of 3 hours for as little as $5 make electric a really low cost way to fly and with only 2 main moving parts in the motor (the bearings) the reliability and maintenance are like nothing seen before.
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Yuneec International are proud to introduce the E430 the world’s first commercially produced ‘Electric Aircraft’. The E430 is a twin seat, single engine, LSA class aircraft designed to be simple to use, easy to fly and with virtually zero vibration, it’s very smooth.
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Yuneec Aircraft

Via Yuneec


6 Comments

iPadHater

With a glide ration of 25:1 this things could glide very, very well. Might become quite popular with glider pilots, any info on pricing?

TheRealJohnSmith

What about the ElectraFlyer? Isn’t that the first one in production?

@iPadHater, they are saying about 80,000 USD but I expect that to jump when their accounts do the math.

@TheRealJohnSmith The ElectraFlyer is a kit build so doesn’t fit this category but we will be featuring it in the near future.

This would be a better option to save energy and give better performance.

Wow, I didn’t knew this airplane. I will use it for my presentations about electric vehicles in general.

Thank you!

Olmo, experet in electric cars.

this is the locgial way to go with the motors situated over each axle and AWD, glad to see BMW getting something right


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