Beyond Aviation, until recently known as Bye Energy, started initial taxi tests on its electric-powered Cessna 172 last Friday, the company said this week. "We will be announcing our first flight date soon," said Charlie Johnson, president of the company. The tests are taking place at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo. The company said its goal is to develop practical, cost-effective electric and hybrid propulsion systems that can easily work as a replacement for internal combustion engines in the 150- to 200-hp range. "The aircraft currently is configured as a proof of concept, 'battery only' aircraft," Darrel Watson, vice president of engineering, told AVweb.
Last November, company founder George Bye said the goal of the project was to create a two-place airplane that would be practical for the training market. He hoped to create an aircraft that would offer an endurance of two hours with a combination of battery power, solar panels on the wings, and power reclaimed from wingtip devices that capture energy in flight. Johnson said that Beyond Aviation will continue the former company's relationships with key sponsors such as Cessna, Jeppesen, Garmin and others.