Ventus E Concept unveiled during German Gliding Day in Freudenstadt.
Ventus self-launcher electrified
For many years now, the award winning FES sustainer solution by LZ Design has been an electric alternative to the SOLO "2-stroke" Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) “Turbo” sustainer and its well known Oehler propeller blade. More than a simple alternative, the FES, with its electro motor and folded propeller on the nose cone of the glider, showed us that new solutions bring always new ideas, and the FES today is enjoyed by many pilots around the World as much more than “just a sustainer”. It has created a new way of using a sailplane in the air, like electro bike brought innovation in biking sport too, for a more accessible and friendly sport activity, for a different "light" on the activity. We believe the gliders with FES will be part of some revolutions in our sport in the next years and new batteries are now coming to support this trend.
Electric self-launching was considered as an even more technical challenge around 13 years ago with the Arcus E. But this has now developed into a mature solution thanks to the continuous development in the field of electric mobility. Some gliders with electric propulsion, sufficient range and the ability to self-launch are now a realistic option, and this is exactly what the Ventus E concept represents. It is now time the Ventus Technical Platform (VTP) gets its electro self-launch solution based on the experience of our Arcus E, Ventus-2cxa FES, Discus-2c FES, Ventus-3 FES and the technical solutions installed by our competitors.
The technology is now ready for the first single seaters 18m IGC class with self-launch capability and acceptable range, circa 2000m total altitude gain. But we also know and understand the need of use of ICE 2-stroke engines as self-launch solution in the next years, as many pilots want to travel, or simply need much more than a total gain of 2000m to achieve their launch and retrieve on a daily basis. Our commitment to both solutions for future is clear, and we will offer the two alternatives on the Ventus Technical Platform with both the existing Ventus-3M and the upcoming Ventus-3E variants.
Find out more about Ventus-3F sustainer and Ventus-3M self-launcher.
The Ventus E concept at a glance
Based on the many feedbacks gathered from the pilots users of these systems in the last seasons, the Schempp-Hirth team steered its R&D towards the solutions which are best adapted to the real life of the pilots and airfields operations. Among these technical orientations are:
- joint venture for main components of the E-motor, controller and batteries with the other manufacturers, trough the mainstream and historical engine provider SOLO Aircraft and its partners, to ensure optimised cost and future proof of the system. This has also a big advantage as SOLO is virtually our neighbour in Germany to ensure best in class support and parallel developments in future ;
- Removable batteries installed in the fuselage for easy storage, and charging in best environment, to ensure best longevity of the batteries and optimal performance even in cold environment, plus light wings for easy rigging and best feeling in flight ;
- Motor usable on just one battery as sustainer to offer a lower wingloading for competition pilots and weak flight conditions ;
- Plus, some additional details our engineering team is developing:
- thermal management, as we know some issues can occur on the E motor system, especially at low load/speed for taxiing with poor air cooling ;
- right sizing of the E motor, to ensure best performance without over stressing the components, best cooling, and to avoid overspeed of RPM which means loss of energy and results in propeller noise ;
- optimisation of the propeller, to fit to the E motor technical characteristics and ensure quiet and efficient operations ;
- Ergonomy in cockpit, Ventus E concept will come with a proper left handed sliding throttle knob for steady and safe operations in rough environment, additional to the Display Control Unit on panel instrument.
- Proof of concept of the integration on the Ventus Technical Platform on its Sport variant (the smaller fuselage variant, platform VTP”S”) to ensure future modular integration on other fuselages is safe (space wise) and already optimised.
Future Proof design
Publicly released during the 2023 German Gliding Day in Freudenstadt, Germany, the Ventus E Concept is based on the Ventus Technical Platform "Sport" to ensure future proof installation in any other fuselage platform.
The philosophy of "future proof" is not only applied on the integration of the system, but also applied on the parts used as component of the mean of propulsion. To reach this goal, the Schempp-Hirth team chose to work closely with the well known SOLO team and its partners.
The use of electro mobility technology means also the current technical data regarding the capacity of the batteries will certainly evolve in next future. As an example, we already can offer better range and batteries solution for all FES gliders we built in the past (subject to TN for each type and variant), thanks to the new Gen4 batteries from LZ Design. But we still strongly suggest, for the pilots in a need of very long range and/or very high gain of altitude, to chose Ventus-3M solution based on the well proven SOLO 2-stroke engines.
Flexibility for an all-weather performant concept
Whatever the weather context you are, the Ventus E, using the flexible SOLO solution allowing the use of one or two batteries removable from the fuselage, will make your glider fit to the environment.
Looking for minimum wingloading but still acceptable retrieve range? Just install one battery and enjoy the inherent flight characteristics of a Ventus-3T glider type-like, multiple World and national champion in many countries.
In a need of self launcher as you want to be independant or need the „extra juice“ for more range or reach of altitude? Go for the two batteries setting and you get a Ventus-3M glider type-like for best freedom and fun adventures in the sky.
More user friendly, more environment friendly
Like in all field of use, electro motor solutions come with a more user friendly interface than previous ICE solutions. Typical example is the sequence of start and stop of the engine which is much more integrated with E-Motor to ensure smooth and fast operation. As on Ventus-3M, you will find a single management device on your panel instrument to monitor both motor, batteries and controller of the engine. A typical throttle knob will serve as power management interface (additionally to the rotating knob on the controller instrument) for safe and steady operations, and clear messages on the panel instrument will ensure clear actions from the pilot's side for best performance and best safety in the air.
This friendly aspect does not only apply to the use in flight, but also on the ground. You will enjoy a self-launcher with very low maintenance needs, no greasy or sticky parts, and an acceptable daily task for storing and charging the batteries. Each battery is around 25kg and comes with 2 strong handles and a quick release to pull it out of the fuselage. The BMS in each battery will ensure charging and levelling of the cells, within a battery, but also between the set of 2 batteries, is achieved for best in class performance and safe operations.
Electro means also a more environmental approach. Both on the CO2 balance after few seasons of use, and for the noise impact of the RES on the surrounding. The Ventus E concept solution participates actively, as its own scale, to the reduction of the impact of our sport on the environment.
Using an UL with 17L/h of fuel consumption with a typical 500m altitude heigh release turns out into approx. 4,6kg of CO2 released direclty in atmosphere. Using the Ventus E concept solution, it turns into approx. 3kWh used and 0.5kg of CO2 released directly in atmosphere (based on 2030 EU average electricity grid power production data). This means a reduction of 90% on direct local CO2 impact for a standard take off. And if we compare with use of tug plane with 180HP, the concept make it even much better!
By using a right-sized e-motor (EMRAX 228) and designing the propeller specially for this aircraft, the task of the engineers has also been to ensure the most possible quiet operations with limited RPM speed to avoid overspeed on propeller tips.
We will share more with you in the upcoming weeks and months regarding this new Ventus E Concept along the different steps of development and, soon, its maiden flight. Stay tuned!
Contact our Sales Team for more information and updates.
Current technical data & expected performance:
- Battery solution: 1 (as sustainer) or 2 (as self launcher) batteries installed
- Battery producer: EMECTRIC
- Battery configuration and voltage: 96S4P / 270-400 Volts
- Battery weight (each): 25 kg
- Battery capacity: 3,4 to 4,2 kWh depending on throttle output
- Motor solution:
- Motor producer and type: EMRAX 228
- Max continuous RPM: to be determined
- Max power for take-off: to be determined
- Max power for continuous climb: to be determined
- Propeller solution
- Propeller producer: Schempp-Hirth
- Propeller diameter: 140 cm
Expected performance @500kg with 2 batteries (figures subject to change after test flight of the definitive design):
- After take off and reaching 600m above the ground, still extra 1600m total altitude gain and range of 100km distance
Expected performance @500kg with 1 battery (ffigures subject to change after test flight of the definitive design):
- circa 900m altitude gain
- circa 60km range distance
More to come...