Siemens develops new low-weight, high-power electric motor for aircraft; enabling larger hybrid aircraft
Siemens researchers have developed a new electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms (110 lbs), delivers a continuous output of about 260 kW—five times more than comparable drive systems. The motor was specially designed for use in aircraft. Due to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time, Siemens said.
To develop the motor, Siemens’ experts scrutinized all the components of previous motors and optimized them up to their technical limits. New simulation techniques and lightweight construction enabled the drive system to achieve the weight-to-performance ratio of five kilowatts (kW) per kilogram (kg).
Since the new motor delivers its performance at rotational speeds of just 2,500 revolutions per minute, it can drive propellers directly, without the use of a transmission.
|Motor and propellor. Click to enlarge.||Motor on test rig. Click to enlarge.|
This innovation will make it possible to build series hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats. We’re convinced that the use of hybrid-electric drives in regional airliners with 50 to 100 passengers is a real medium-term possibility.—Frank Anton, Head of eAircraft at Siemens Corporate Technology
The motor is scheduled to begin flight-testing before the end of 2015. In the next step, the Siemens researchers will boost output further.
In 2013, Siemens, Airbus and Diamond Aircraft successfully flight-tested a series hybrid-electric drive in a DA36 E-Star 2 motor glider for the first time. The test aircraft had a power output of 60 kW. (Earlier post.)