In recent posts we have looked at the future of mobility and in particular electric flight. At the Paris Air Show this year, Siemens showed-off its world record holding aircraft powered entirely by a lightweight electric motor.
The new type of electric motor developed by Siemens weighs just 50 kilograms and delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts which is five times more than comparable drive systems.
Earlier in the year (i.e. in March, 2017) the Extra 330LE aerobatic plane, powered by the propulsion system from Siemens, set two new speed records. At an airfield in Germany, the electric aircraft reached a top speed of around 340 (km/h) over a distance of three kilometres. Following this, Extra 330LE undertook another first by becoming the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky. The nearly silent aerotow took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.
Siemens also announced in 2016 that it is partnering with Airbus in order to contribute this technology to a cooperative project between the two companies and to drive the development of electrically powered flight.
One of the benefits of electric drives is that they are exceptionally scalable, and Siemens and Airbus will be using the record-setting motor as the basis to develop regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems. For Siemens, hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft are set to become a core area of its future business.