* Dr. Paul MacCready, founder of AeroVironment, posted this page on his personal web site. As a tribute to one of the brightest, forward-thinking men we've had the pleasure of knowing, we reproduce his photo and the honor of Paul.

Welcome to the AeroVironment Vehicles page!*

If you would like to learn about Vehicles, you have come to the right place! 


The following text comes from the short film "Doing More With Much Less"

"Doing more with less is a vital feature of a world that works -- where our increasing demands are met, yet do not overwhelm the limits of the earth..."

Some of the unusual, efficient vehicles with which AeroVironment has been involved serve as visual metaphors for the theme. 

Gossamer Condor

GOSSCOND-TN.GIF (73968 bytes) The primitive (and fragile) Gossamer Condor was the first really successful human-powered airplane. The final version can be seen at the National Air and Space Museum, where it was installed after this 1977 flight won the first Kremer Prize.

Gossamer Albatross

The fragile, 70 pound, Gossamer Albatross was pedaled 23 miles across the English Channel in 1979 to win the largest prize in aviation history. It demonstrates what can be done with low power, when new concepts of efficiency are unleashed by challenges not burdened by constraints from narrow rules or the need for commercial production. It is a catalyst for new perspectives that can lead to useful insights and products - such as the Pathfinder. And, incidentally, it was a tribute to the human spirit.  GOSSALBTRS-TN.GIF (93999 bytes)

Solar Challenger

SQCHALLENGER-TN.GIF (76631 bytes) The Solar Challenger was made to serve as a symbol that photovoltaic cells can produce real power and will be a part of the world's energy future. In 1981 it flew 163 miles from Paris to England, solely on the power of sunbeams -- and established a basis for the Pathfinder.

QN Pterodactyl

QN, short for Quetzacoatlus northropi, is a flying replica of the largest natural flyer, a giant pterodactyl. The replica is an "actor" in the IMAX giant-screen film "On the Wing," which depicts the evolution of natural flight in relation to the development of civilization's flying machines. qnfly-tn.gif (59038 bytes)

GM Sunraycer

SUNRAYCER396-TN.GIF (82606 bytes) In 1987, General Motors teamed with AeroVironment for the rapid development of the GM Sunraycer, to be entered in the World Solar Challenge to cross Australia on energy from sunlight. It won, speeding 50% faster than the runner-up, and averaging 42 miles per hour on only a kilowatt of power. Batteries to store the intermittent energy from the sun for vehicle use are essential -- and obviously for non-race purposes, they can be charged from the utility grid without need for solar cells. This solar car race helped emphasize that battery-powered cars can make ssense.

GM Impact

Next, the same team combined to create the battery-powered Impact demonstrator. To show that cars emitting no pollution can be part of our transportation future, it needed adequate range and snappy acceleration. It zooms from zero to sixty miles per hour in 8 seconds. Now many groups are increasing priorities on battery-powered vehicles, vehicle efficiency in general, and broader transportation issues.  IMPACT-TN.GIF (58085 bytes)

Charger Bicycle

CHARGER-TN.GIF (81922 bytes) Globally, bikes are widely employed for personal mobility, transport of goods, and recreation. For some uses battery-assist (a scaled-down version of electric car technology) makes sense -- you can get the help of a "virtual pedaler", here hidden in the saddlebags, who weighs only a few pounds and never talks back -- not to turn your bicycle into a motorcycle, but to let you do for 30 minutes what your normal ability would let you do for only 3 minutes. You can extend your commuting range with this "bionic hybrid" that will never run out of gas. You can match performance between individuals, or not be bothered by hills on a hot afternoon.

AV Pointer

A tiny airplane, the AV Pointer, serves for surveillance -- in effect a pair of roving eyeglasses. A cutting edge example of where miniaturization can lead if the operator is remote from the vehicle. It is convenient to carry, assemble, and launch by hand. Battery powered, it is silent and rarely noticed. It sends high resolution video pictures back to the operator. With on-board GPS it can navigate autonomously, and it is rugged enough to "self land" without damage. POINTERLG-TN.GIF (12978 bytes)


PATHFINDERBB-TN.GIF (40481 bytes) Most dramatic is the unmanned, 100 foot, solar-powered Pathfinder, here undergoing low altitude tests in late 1993. Versions are aimed at "eternal" flight (or at least flights for months, above 65,000 feet) to carry equipment for surveillance, stratospheric monitoring, and telecommunications. 

The message from all these vehicles is that ideas and technology can be harnessed to produce remarkable gains in doing more with less -- gains that can help us attain a desirable balance between technology and nature. The stakes are high, as we speed toward a challenging future. 

Buckminster Fuller said it clearly: "There are no passengers on spaceship earth, only crew". We the crew, can - and must - do more with less, much less."


As AeroVironment focuses on solar powered aircraft, bird-size surveilance planes and other far reaching projects, ElectroPortal has now picked up where Paul and his crew left off...keeping the Charger bikes on the road and designing our own "second generation bike", whatever we end up calling it. It's taken longer to raise the funds from bike sales to provide for the new "Mark II", but after we sell a few hundred more Charger bikes, this bike promises to be a winner too! The longer it takes, the better and more fun-functional it will be...allowing Charger bike owners a chance to upgrade, or hang on to what we believe to be the best e-bike design to date, BAR NONE! <