Airbus, Rolls Royce and Siemens team up on electric plane plan

Airbus, Rolls Royce and Siemens have teamed up to create the next hybrid electric plane, the E-Fan X, which should be ready for testing in 2020.

Airbus, Rolls Royce and Siemens team up on electric plane plan

Plane maker Airbus, engine specialist Rolls Royce and industrial manufacturer Siemens, Tuesday announced they were working together to create a hybrid electric aircraft. The E-Fan X hybrid-electric technology demonstrator plane, is expected to take its first test flight in 2020.

Around 1330 BST, Airbus shares were 0.68% higher at €86.27, Siemens shares were up 0.58% at €113.80, while Rolls Royce shares were 1.36% in the red at £870.50.

‘Ground breaking collaboration’

The companies are working together to create and hybrid electric plane motor as the industry has signalled it would be interested in this path to a lower carbon footprint.

The aeroplane industry has taken significant steps to improve its green credentials. However, the fuel planes burn, means its difficult to make more improvements based on the current plane engine configurations.

“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’ Chief Technology Officer. “We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation,” he added.

The plan was announced at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

Collaborative planning

Each member of the partnership will use their particular expertise in a specific area to create the final aircraft.

  • Airbus’ responsibility will be the overall integration, along with the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries.
  • Rolls-Royce will take on the turbo-shaft engine, two-megawatt generator, and power electronics. It will also team up with Airbus, Rolls-Royce in working on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor.
  • Siemens will deliver the two-megawatt electric motors and their power electronic control unit. It will also create the inverter, DC/DC converter, and power distribution system.

“The E-Fan X enables us to build on our wealth of electrical expertise to revolutionise flight and welcome in the third generation of aviation,” said Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce, Chief Technology Officer.

“With the E-Fan X partnership, we now take the next step to demonstrate the technology in the air,” added Siemens Chief Technology Officer, Roland Busch.

As of 13:37 GMT, Tuesday, 28 November, Rolls-Royce Holding PLC share price is 767.75p.

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