Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have formed a partnership to develop a near-term hybrid-electric flight demonstrator for commercial aircraft. The partners expect the E-Fan X series-hybrid-electric technology demonstrator to fly in 2020 following a ground test campaign, provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed, with one of the aircraft’s four gas turbine engines replaced by a 2MW electric motor. Provisions will be made to replace a second gas turbine with an electric motor once system maturity has been proven.
The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The objective is to push and mature the technology, performance, safety and reliability enabling quick progress on the hybrid electric technology. The program also aims at establishing the requirements for future certification of electrically powered aircraft while training a new generation of designers and engineers to bring hybrid-electric commercial aircraft one step closer to reality.
Aaron is an automotive journalist living in Wyoming, USA. His background includes technology, mechanics, commercial vehicles, and new vehicle evaluations. Aaron is a member of several automotive media groups and writes for many well-known publications.