Embraer flies Ipanema electric demonstrator aircraft


Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has started flight testing campaign its first fully electric demonstrator aircraft.

Developed to evaluate new technologies and solutions that enable 100% electric and more sustainable aeronautical propulsion, the demonstrator aircraft is an EMB-203 Ipanema modified with an electric powertrain from motor company WEG and batteries from energy firm EDP.

The flight tests for the demonstratora are being conducted at Embraer’s facility in Gavião Peixoto, in São Paulo, Brazil.

The initial test flights have so far assessed power, performance, control, thermal management and operational safety, said Embraer. The goal is of the test flight program is to validate results obtained from computational simulations, laboratory tests and ground integration of technology which have taken place since the second half of 2019.

The Ipanema is an agricultural aircraft which in 2004 became the world´s first aircraft certified and produced in series to fly on fuel from a renewable source – ethanol. The Ipanema made its first flight in 1970 and is still being sold today, with around 1,500 delivered to customers in Brazil during the last 40 years.. 

Luis Carlos Affonso, vice president of engineering, technology development and corporate strategy of Embraer said, “The first flight of an aircraft is always an important milestone, and the take-off of our first zero-emission electric aircraft also represents the relevant contribution of our teams and partners to the energy transition of the sector.

“We are committed to seeking solutions to enable the future of a more sustainable aviation and innovation will play a key role in this journey.”

The knowledge acquired on the electric demonstrator aircraft tests will allow Embraer to develop new products in line with the company’s continuous search for a sustainable future. The company is also developing EVA (electric vertical aircraft), an eVTOL aircraft, through Eve, its Urban Air Mobility subsidiary.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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