Airbus, Siemens, Rolls Royce to test hybrid-electric plane in 2020

Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce have partnered up to produce a prototype of a hybrid-electric plane, expected to fly in 2020. The aircraft is a modified version of the four-engine BAe 146 model, with two of the gas engines to be replaced by 2-megawatt electric motors manufactured by Siemens, the three companies said in a press release on Tuesday. The project aims to meet the European Union’s environmental goals of reducing carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions as well as noise, which”cannot be achieved with the technologies existing today,”the statement said. A flight demonstrator of the electric plane, dubbed the E-Fan X, is set to test the altitude and dynamic effects on electrical systems before introducing a single-aisle commercial jet. “The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future,”said Paul Eremenko, Airbus’s chief technology officer. “The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators… will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective,”Eremenko said. The partnership announcement comes two months after a similar project was launched by US aircraft maker Boeing and JetBlue airways, whose 12-passenger hybrid-electric plane is set to hit the market in 2022. The makers claim the US electric-powered aircraft will be capable of operating regional flights in half the current flight time.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar.