First public flight of Siemens 260kW electric motor; to be used in development of hybrid-electric aircraft
Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. (Earlier post.) This record-setting propulsion system successfully completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane.
The new drive system made its maiden flight on 24 June 2016. Siemens 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. (Earlier post.)
This day will change aviation. This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.—Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Siemens’ central research unit Corporate Technology
Siemens and Airbus will use the record-setting motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems. Anton said they they expect to see initial hybrid aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers by around 2030. Siemens is determined to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future area of business.
The first flight of our propulsion system is a milestone on the road to electrification of aviation. 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 Chief Technology Officer Siegfried Russwurm.
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).