New electric motor from Siemens drives airplane

July 21, 2016 | 08:50
New electric motor from Siemens drives airplane
New electric motor from Siemens drives airplane
Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a mass of 50 kg, can deliver a continuous power output of about 260 kW. This is five times more than comparable drive systems. With this motor built into an Extra 330 LE is a successful first public flight was made at the airport of Schwarze Heide near Dinslaken in Germany. This development makes hybrid-electric driven airplanes with four or more seats a possibility.

“This day will change aviation,” according to Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Corporate Technology, the central research division at Siemens. “This is the first time that an electrically powered airplane has flown in the quarter-megawatt class.” The Extra 330LE, with a mass of nearly 1000 kg, is the flying test platform for the new drive system. As an acrobatic airplane it is eminently suitable to test the parts to their extreme limits and to improve on their design.

The company will also introduce the technology in the joint project that Siemens and Airbus decided to pursue in April 2016, the purpose of which is to stimulate the development of electrically powered airplanes.

Electric drive systems are scalable and Siemens and Airbus intend to use the motor as groundwork for the development of regional airliners with hybrid-electric drive systems. “By 2030 we expect to see the first airplanes with a capacity up to 100 passengers and a range of 1000km,” Anton said.

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