Airbus and Siemens have signed a collaboration agreement for hybrid-electric propulsion research. This major joint venture will look at the electrification of aviation and demonstrate the technical feasibility of various hybrid/electric propulsion systems by 2020.
Both companies have created a team of 200 for the development of electrically powered aircraft.
Tom Enders, CEO, Airbus Group said, “We believe that by 2030, passenger aircraft below 100 seats could be propelled by hybrid propulsion systems, and we are determined to explore this.”
Hybrid-electric propulsion systems can significantly reduce fuel consumption and noise. European emissions targets aim for a 75% reduction of CO₂ emissions by 2050 compared with the values for the year 2000. These ambitious goals cannot be achieved by conventional technologies.
The companies plan to jointly develop prototypes for various propulsion systems, with power classes ranging from a few hundred kilowatts up to 10MW, which are suitable for short, local trips involving aircraft with less than a 100-seat capacity, helicopters or UAVs up to classic short and medium-range journeys.
Airbus and Siemens along with Austria’s Diamond Aircraft created a hybrid aircraft back in 2011. Since then, Siemens has been developing an electric engine for aircraft which supplies five times as much power with the same weight.
Airbus Group has been gathering operational experience with electrically powered aircraft since 2014 with the ‘E-Fan’, a full electric two-seater dedicated to training pilots. This success has been achieved together with various industrial partners.
Siemens wants to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future business. The partners have agreed to collaborate exclusively in selected development areas. In parallel, both partners will continue to work together with their current partners for small aircraft with fewer than 20 seats.
April 8, 2016