Aircraft

Volocopter flies past crowdfunding goal

E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month
E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month
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E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month
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E-volo's Volocopter takes to the air for the first time last month

The maiden flight of e-volo's 18-rotor Volocopter electric aircraft prototype last month seems to have impressed quite a few people. The company is claiming a European crowdfunding record after raising €1.2 million (US$1.64 million) in under four days.

The fundraising effort was launched on German crowdfunding platform Seedmatch, which differs from better-known platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that it lets people invest in startup companies rather than simply pledge funds to essentially pre-order a particular product.

The Seedmatch campaign passed the €500,000 (US$685,000) mark in just two and a half hours, on the way to a total of €1.2 million in three days, nine hours and 52 minutes. Some 750 investors committed between €250 and €10,000 (US$340 and $13,700).

“The raised money will now serve to optimize the first prototype of the VC200 and, as part of the testing scheme, conclude a comprehensive test flight program for this new aviation category," says e-volo Managing Director Alexander Zosel. "After that, we will build a weight-optimized prototype of the VC200 near series production conditions and finalize type-certification and mold construction for series production."

Source: E-volo

17 comments
Grunchy
How much weight can the e-volo lift? The demonstration didn't have anybody or anything on board (I think). I wonder if it has enough lift to replace the battery banks with an engine/generator/fuel tank for improved range. Essentially that's what a diesel-electric locomotive is: an engine driving a generator that powers the wheels, but a similar system could power all those rotors instead. Actually there's something even cooler than that, it's called a gas turbine electric locomotive (GTEL). A turbine engine has a terrific power-to-weight ratio, I wonder how airworthy that would be.
Sergius
Congratulations on rapid conquest of funds. I imagine the short period in which this happened is due to all Volocopter staff and great technological and environmental advances presented in this product. Surely, the company will raise and fly higher, using electric motors, in a shipping area, where it is known that spending and the consumption with fuels is immense.
donwine
This method of lift does work but it creates 2 problems. One motor will always weigh less than 18 motors. The other problem is forward speed. All that connecting frame work is not conducive to high speed. "Grunchy" is correct about a hybrid system. Environmentalist should get behind bio fuel jet hybrids. Jet fuel is the most polluting fuel in air travel and bio fuel is actually non polluting. We are currently developing a light weight motor that uses no steel or copper that is water cooled to use in the Hydro XE.
jerryd
I do composites and EV's and vertical flight and it's very unlikely this can be made light enough to carry a useful load a useful distance under batteries. Don't see any mention of the drag of the connecting structures at speed which will be quite high. Small dia rotors are NOT eff nor are the structures to hold them together. 2 things you can't have in an EV VTOL if you want reasonable range, payload. Basic physics. Now had it been 2 counter rotating rotors of 60% dia the example craft dia would weight 50% of it but have reasonable range, payload, easily 100% more than the example. A nice 12'dia twin rotor single person unit could be cost effective, $15k with a 50 mile range for commuting, etc is likely the sweet spot for now.
b2p
Might package a ballistic chute on top of a central mast as there will be no autorotation for an emergency descent.
S Michael
50 mile range.. are you nuts... I would pay 15 or 20k to have a range of 50 miles... maybe 500 miles is more like it. but not 50 miles, not a sweet spot...
Slowburn
@ donwine Jet fuel is the most polluting fuel in air travel. Really? Avgas still has lead.
donwine
Sorry "Slowburn" - I didn't know the scientist were wrong! "Aviation and the environment are on a collision course. The number of airline flights worldwide is growing and expected to skyrocket over the coming decades. Aircraft emissions pollute the air and threaten by 2050 to become one of the largest contributors to global warming, British scientists have concluded. Much remains unknown about climate change and the role aviation plays, though climate scientists express particular concern about jet emissions in the upper atmosphere, where the warming effect from some pollutants is amplified. Now, aviation is believed to be less a factor in the Earth's warming than power plants or vehicular traffic. But its emissions are considerable. On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide PER PASSENGER. That's about what an SUV generates in a month."
donwine
"Aviation and the environment are on a collision course. The number of airline flights worldwide is growing and expected to skyrocket over the coming decades. Aircraft emissions pollute the air and threaten by 2050 to become one of the largest contributors to global warming, British scientists have concluded. Much remains unknown about climate change and the role aviation plays, though climate scientists express particular concern about jet emissions in the upper atmosphere, where the warming effect from some pollutants is amplified. Now, aviation is believed to be less a factor in the Earth's warming than power plants or vehicular traffic. But its emissions are considerable. On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide PER PASSENGER. That's about what an SUV generates in a month."
Dennis Roberts
@ donwine, Could you post some links to the studies you're quoting? The quote "On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide PER PASSENGER." seems wrong given that the fuel burn per passenger is less than that.