smartflyer AG collects the InnoPrix 2020 from Baloise Bank SoBa foundation

Solothurn, November 24, 2020. The Grenchen-based company smartflyer AG has won the InnoPrix SoBa 2020 award. The Baloise Bank SoBa foundation presents the annual award, which is endowed with prize money of CHF 25,000, to innovative new products and services in the Solothurn economic area. This year’s award ceremony was held in a hangar at Grenchen Airport on 23 November 2020 and was live streamed for the first time.

Innovation is crucial to progress, the economy and society, and never more so than in the current circumstances. The InnoPrix SoBa award recognises visionary ideas that will shape the world of tomorrow. Even in this most unusual of years, there were many new project submissions for the panel of judges to consider. The eventual winner was aviation company smartflyer AG.

Making hybrid-electric flights of up 750 kilometres a reality

smartflyer AG designed the SFX1, an aircraft optimised for electric operation, completely from scratch. It is set to make hybrid-electric flights of up to 750 kilometres a reality thanks to a range extender. The combustion engine in the range extender drives the generator that charges the batteries. The electric motor is controlled by an integrated DC-to-AC inverter. It forms the main propulsion system together with the battery and AC motor. Because its propeller is mounted on the vertical stabiliser, the SFX1 is up to 30 per cent more efficient than a conventional aircraft as well as being quieter and cheaper to operate.

The prototype, which is currently in development, has already attracted a great deal of international media attention. The maiden flight is scheduled for 2023. The next steps in the years that follow will be to gain certification, secure funding and prepare to go into production. From 2028, the company is planning to manufacture up to ten of the small aircraft per year at its Grenchen factory.

About smartflyer AG

The Grenchen-based company was founded in 2016 and is mainly run on a voluntary basis by a team of 21 people comprising engineers, pilots and other specialists. A shared belief in making a sustainable change to aviation drives the team on each and every day.

InnoPrix SoBa has a long tradition

The Baloise Bank SoBa foundation has presented the InnoPrix SoBa award since 1987 to promote trade and industry in Solothurn. Every year, it honours a project that brings fresh ideas and positive momentum to the Solothurn economic area. As well as receiving prize money, the winner is given the opportunity to present themselves and their project to the public during the award ceremony.


Stiftung der Baloise Bank SoBa zur
Förderung der solothurnischen Wirtschaft
Postfach, 4502 Solothurn
Tel.: +41 58 285 36 64

Picture: Award ceremony InnoPrix SoBa 2020 © Oliver Menge/Grenchner Tagblatt


Portrait Nicole Hess

Nicole Hess

Media spokeswoman


+41 58 285 76 09

About us

The Baloise Group is more than just a traditional insurance company. The changing security, safety and service needs of society in the digital age lie at the heart of its business activities. The 7,900 or so employees of Baloise therefore focus on the wishes of their customers. The best possible customer service, combined with innovative products and services, makes Baloise the first choice for people who want to feel ‘simply safe’. Located at the heart of Europe, with its head office in Basel, the Baloise Group is a provider of prevention, pension, assistance and insurance solutions. Its core markets are Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, the Group also operates as a specialised financial services provider, offering a combination of insurance and banking services. The Group offers innovative pension products to retail customers throughout Europe from its competence centre in Luxembourg. Bâloise Holding Ltd shares are listed in the main segment of the SIX Swiss Exchange.

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