Siemens researchers have developed a new electric motor that weighs just 50kg and delivers a continuous output of about 260kW – five times more than comparable drive systems.
This propulsion system successfully completed its first public flight on July 4 at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane. The new drive system had already made its maiden flight on June 24, 2016. This advance means that hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats will now be possible.
Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Siemens’s central research unit, corporate technology, said, “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.” The Extra 330LE, which weighs nearly 1,000kg, serves as a flying test bed for the new propulsion system. As an aerobatic airplane, it’s particularly well suited for taking the components to their limits, testing them and enhancing their design.
Siemens will also be contributing this technology to the cooperative project that it and Airbus agreed in April 2016, which seeks to drive the development of electrically powered flight. Electric drives are scalable, and Siemens and Airbus will be using the record-setting motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems.
“By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000km,” said Anton.
Click here to see a video of the first flgiht taken by Siemens’s lightweight electric motor.
July 15, 2016