Pipistrel announces family of unmanned eVTOL cargo aircraft

Pipistrel, the Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer, has announced the Nuuva V20 and V300, a set of autonomous, unmanned eVTOL aircraft for logistics and cargo delivery. The focus lies on the V300, which can carry a load of up to 460kg divided over three standard Euro-pallets at an operating cost estimated to be ten times more economical than a typical helicopter of today. The V20 is marketed as a last-mile delivery vehicle capable of carrying 20kg.

Both aircraft feature a tandem-wing design and eight independent battery powered electric motors for vertical take-off and landing. The Pipistrel E-811 motors powering the Nuuva V300 are the first electric engine certified by EASA for use in general aviation aircraft and was previously used by Pipistrel in the Velis Electro. The aircraft feature self-monitoring systems to detect malfunctions and assure safety and reliability, and the batteries can be charged at a SkyCharge station, a charging station previously announced as a partnership between Pipistrel and Green Motion.

While Pipistrel markets the Nuuva family as eVTOL aircraft, they each have one internal combustion engine for horizontal flight, ensuring a long range. The typical mission range for the V300 is touted as being 300km, although a range of 2,500km can be reached when only 50kg of cargo is being carried. The economic cruise speed at sea level is 165km/h, for which the engine has to produce around 75kW. With only 50kg of payload, the Nuuva V300 is said to be able to take off vertically at altitudes as high as 8,000ft.

Pipistrel is now accepting orders for both Nuuva aircraft. Entry into service for the V300 is planned for the second half of 2023. The smaller V20 is said to be ready for delivery in 2021.

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