Electric aircraft developed by German engineers from Siemens R&D center has completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany.
7/26/16 5:00 am chumakdenis 1
News regarding electric aircraft is quite scarce – let’s be honest, popularization of electric aircraft is a long run and God only knows when we will start exploring sky frontiers.
However, with German giant Siemens and their latest development, we are getting one step closer to this long-term-humanity dream.
So, to make a long story short, here’s what the company did: they’ve developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems.
Pretty huge, isn’t it?
Well, it is not everything.
The engine actually works in ‘combat’ conditions – propulsion system was installed on Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane and on the fourth of July the history was being made – meaning that we are one step closer from our dream.
Maybe, not dream, but with this technology hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats are finally possible – electric and hybrid Airbuses and Boeings is just a matter of time.
Well, let’s salute Siemens and congratulate them for their victory.
Rephrasing Neil Armstrong: “one small step for a bunch of scientists, one giant leap for mankind.”
About electric motor in detail
The motor has been specially designed for use in aircraft. Thanks to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time.
To implement the world-record motor, Siemens' experts scrutinized all the components of previous motors and optimized them up to their technical limits.
New simulation techniques and sophisticated lightweight construction enabled the drive system to achieve a unique weight-to-performance ratio of five kilowatts (kW) per kilogram (kg). The electric motors of comparable strength that are used in industrial applications deliver less than one kW per kg. The performance of the drive systems used in electric vehicles is about two kW per kg.
Inasmuch as the new motor delivers its record-setting performance at rotational speeds of just 2,500 revolutions per minute, it can drive propellers directly, without the use of a transmission.
Plans for the future
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. Siemens is determined to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future area of business.
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. Siemens is determined to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future area of business.