"This day will change aviation," said Frank Anton, 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." The Extra 330LE, which weighs nearly 1,000 kilograms, 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.
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. 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 kilometers," explained 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).
The press release and further material are available under www.siemens.com/press/electric-aircraft