The e-Genius is an electrically powered two-seated aircraft with a maximum range of approximately 400 kilometers. The aircraft bases on the concept of the Hydrogenius, operated by an integrated fuel cell propulsion system consisting of a hydrogen fuel cell as well as an electric motor with a propeller in the rear of the aircraft. This concept study has won the Berblinger Competition in the year 2006, presented by the city of Ulm. The successful result at the Berblinger Competition encouraged the faculty of Aerospace at the University of Stuttgart to accept the challenge of offering substantial contribution to this purpose. The lead of the project had been taken over by Prof. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann who has been also the creative director and initiator of the projects icaré, Hydrogenius and e-Genius. Further key members of his team had been the engineers Len Schumann, Steffen Geinitz and Karl Käser.
An environment-friendly and economic aircraft can only be realized with a multi disciplinary optimized design. This cannot be accomplished by integrating the system into an existing airframe. Only a custom-engineered concept is able to meet the requirements for a small propulsion need of the aircraft, high total efficiency of the propulsion, low weight as well as a low-emission conversion of the carried energy.
In 2008, the Hydrogenius team decided to cooperate with the Slovenian aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel. With this collaboration, the Hydrogenius team appreciated reductions of both the development time and construction costs for Hydrogenius by using duplicate parts and structural shapes of this manufacturer´s ultralight powered glider Taurus. In the autumn of 2008 we started the practical works with the cockpit mock-up, so we were able to integrate different control and avionics systems and checked them in the forefront of the manufacturing.
With the beginning of the year 2009, we instructed the Slovenian company Sineton to develop the propulsion system for the Hydrogenius. Their experiences with electrical aircraft motors and the successful cooperation by then qualified Sineton as an ideal partner for our project.
Fortunately, the counterpart for the elevator was provided by the Akaflieg Stuttgart. Originally they used it for their aircraft fs-35. The Elevator has a span of 3.3 m. The picture shows the varnished upper elevator model before the loading of the CFK fabrics.
In the beginning of the year 2010 we decided to participate at the NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge 2011. Therefore we developed the challenge version so called e-Genius. The basic difference to the Hydrogenius is the new lithium-ion battery power storage system. The e-Genius consists of four lithium-ion batteries feeding the electric motor in the rear with the required power for hours. From this point, we concentrated our capacities on the e-Genius.
The fuselage of e-Genius is a complete redevelopment, optimized for electrical flying. The hood cut is similar to Pipistrel´s ultralight aircraft Taurus to adapt some parts. The fuselage model consists of a polystyrol core.
At the end of the year 2010 we were able to assemble the new plane for the first time. On the following picture you can see the fuselage, the three wing parts and the elevator, assembled to one plane.
In February 2011, the first certification step had been completed. The wing withstood the applied load (more than four tons).
In March 2011, the fuselage load test also had been accomplished successfully.
April 2011, the steering system and the cockpit had been almost completed.
With the construction of the retractable landing gear, we completed the work for this month.
On the 27 April 2011, the e-Genius had its first roll-out. On the picture below, you can see almost every member of the e-Genius team.
On the 25 May 2011, the e-Genius had its maiden flight. At 5:58 pm, the test pilot Steffen Gemsa took off from an airfield near Mindelheim, owned by GROB Aircraft.
Until the beginning of August 2011, the e-Genius completed numerous test flights from the test base near Mindelheim. Several pilots, not only test pilots, grasped the opportunity to enjoy the great handling and flight performance of the e-Genius. By using their feedback, we were able to fix some details of the aircraft in the hangar between the test flights.