Three If By Air

Siemens electric motor makes first flight

Last week, we featured an item on NASA running successful test runs on a plane powered by electric motors. The space administration has long been noted for its groundbreaking achievements. Not a week later, a manufacturer has repeated a similar feat.

siemens plane

Siemens’ new electric motor-powered plane.

Siemens’ newly developed, 50 kg electric motor has successfully completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, the first in a larger class size.

The new model delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. In likeness to the NASA airplane, the propulsion system is almost completely silent.

It powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane during its first flight. The new drive system had already made its maiden flight on June 24. This advance means that hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats will now be possible, a mark that Siemens’ Frank Anton boldly claimed “will change aviation”. Anton is head of eAircraft at Siemens’ central research unit Corporate Technology. “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown,” he said. The Extra 330LE, which weighs nearly 1,000 kg, 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, according to TradeArabia News Service

In addition, the company will be contributing this technology to the cooperative project that Siemens and Airbus agreed to in April 2016 for driving the development of electrically powered flight, as noted in the video above. 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 1,000 km,” said Anton.

“The first flight of our propulsion system is a milestone on the road to electrification of aviation,” said Siemens Chief Technology Officer Siegfried Russwurm. “To continue this journey successfully, we need disruptive ideas and the courage to take risks. That’s why the development of electric propulsion systems for aircraft is also the first project for our new start-up organization, next47.” Siemens is determined to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future area of business.

Germany’s Aeronautics Research Program (LuFo) supported development of this motor. The Extra 330LE was created in cooperation with Siemens, Extra Aircraft, MT-Propeller and Pipistrel (battery).

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Exercising Caution | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - September 22, 2016

    […] electric-motor powered airbus project, July […]

  2. Boeing Green | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - October 19, 2017

    […] this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because it is: Siemens went to work on a prototype for electric aircraft last summer. That model at the time marked an advance towards hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats […]

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