'Bat' plane hopes to break electric air-speed record

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A lightweight electric-powered plane which hopes to break the electric air-speed record is one of several products going on display at an innovation showcase at this year’s Venturefest Bristol, being held next month.

The single-seater aircraft, called the 'Bat', has been built by The Electric Aeroplane Company (Teaco), in Gloucestershire.

Built using a variety of lightweight materials including carbon fibre, the Bat will attempt to break the electric air speed record – currently 202mph – next year.

Teaco founder Roger Mottram, whose background is in the repair and maintenance of high-performance aircraft, said electric-powered aviation had previously been held back by the design of electric motors and battery technology.

“But motors are getting smaller and becoming more powerful and battery technology is going the same way,” he said. “Our plan is to go ‘fast and furious’, unlike endurance planes, which rely on small motors and big wings.”

Inspired by the Red Bull racing aircraft, Mottram believed the Bat could go “substantially faster” than the existing speed record for electrically-powered aircraft, thanks to the contra-rotating configuration of the plane’s two back-to-back electric motors.

“This is one tough little cookie of an aircraft,” he said.

Work had already begun on parts for the plane, and interest had been shown from a number of major companiesin the technology which was being developed, Mottram added.

More than 30 products have been chosen to be showcased at the Venturefest Bristol event including a submersible boat; a new fuel-saving technology for automobiles, and a ‘haptic’ cow, a virtual reality bovine designed to train veterinary students.

Lorelei Hunt, director of Science City Bristol, which is organizing the event, said: “The quality and quantity of the applications we received for the innovation showcase provides a real demonstration of the strength of the Bristol city region as a location for high-tech business starts.

“Last year, showcase winners told us that they made valuable contacts with business advisors and investors at the event. We expect that real business will result from the contacts made and conversations started at Venturefest Bristol 2012.”

Details of the showcase can be found here.