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Electric airplane wins $1.35M prize from Google and NASA

As if the notion of flying around in your own plane wasn’t cool enough, a recent contest has proven that travel by personal airplane can be an energy-efficient dream, too.

It only took two hours and a half-gallon of gas per passenger for Team Pipistrel-USA’s electric plane to complete the 200-mile course and win the CAFE Green Flight Challenge. The Pennsylvania-based team’s achievement earned them a $1.35 million award from Google and NASA.

The prize was the largest award ever given by the U.S. space agency, which had help from Google in sponsoring the contest to develop a more efficient airplane.

The winning plane, dubbed the “Taurus G4,” began and ended its 200-mile flight at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California. The plane featured a dual-fuselage design, a 75-foot wingspan, and 6.5-foot propeller powered by lithium-polymer batteries.

“Two years ago, the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 miles per hour in an electric aircraft was pure science fiction,” said Team Pipistrel-USA leader Jack Langelaan. “Now we are all looking forward to the future of electric aviation.”