Researchers at Siemens have developed a new type of electric motor that delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. Weighing just 110 pounds, the propulsion system completed its first public flight at Schwarze-Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic plane—in near silence.
According to Siemens researchers, this advance means that hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats now will be possible.
Siemens thinks the Extra 330LE, which weighs 2,200 pounds, is particularly well suited for taking the components of the new propulsion system to their limits, testing them and giving Siemens engineers clues toward enhancing their design.
Additionally, Siemens will be contributing this technology to a joint cooperative project that Siemens and Airbus agreed to in April 2016 for developing electrically powered flight. The companies will be using this motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid-electric propulsion systems.
“By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers [540 nm],” said Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Siemens’ central research unit Corporate Technology.
Learn more at siemens.com.