50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

Airbus Drops Electric Light Aircraft For Larger E-Fan X

Download: Printable PDF Date: 02 Apr 2017 11:44 category:
Publisher:
Airbus Drops Electric Light Aircraft For Larger E-Fan X - Manufacturer publisher
Krista Kuznecova
Country: France Aircraft: Airplanes
Source: Aviationweek

Citing the rapid progress in electric propulsion, Airbus has dropped plans to produce the E-Fan family of light aircraft and is working instead on a larger and more powerful aircraft, dubbed E-Fan X, that could fly within three years.

Originally Airbus planned to produce the two-seat E-Fan 2.0 trainer and four-seat E-Fan 4.0 tourer with electric-driven ducted fans. The company in 2014-15 announced that an Airbus subsidiary, Voltair, would work with French general-aviation manufacturer Daher-Socata to produce the E-Fan 2.0 at a new factory in south-west France, with deliveries to begin by early 2018.

But electric aircraft propulsion is developing rapidly. The E-Fan 1.0 technology demonstrator, first flown in March 2014, has two 30-kW (40-shp) electric motors driving dual ducted fans. In July 2016, motor developer Siemens flew an Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft with a 300-kW electric drive.

“That is a 10-times increase in our ability to deliver power in flight,” says Stefan Schaffrath, head of media relations for Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “Three years ago we kicked off the E-fan. Today we are evaluating if we could fly an E-Fan X in the next three years that would be 2 megawatts—another order of magnitude change.”

Airbus and Siemens signed a collaborative agreement in April 2016 to demonstrate the feasibility of hybrid-electric propulsion by 2020, as a precursor to developing a commercial aircraft with fewer than 100 seats that could enter service by 2030.

“For a single-aisle-scale aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion we’re talking 20-40 megawatts of power,” Schaffrath says. “Whether this will take another three years to happen we don’t know, but for sure we need to build the 2-megawatt demonstrator and see how the technology turns out.”

Since launching the E-Fan 1.0, and flying it across the English Channel on battery power in July 2015, Airbus has upgraded the demonstrator to hybrid-electric power. The company has also launched two projects to demonstrate electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing urban air vehicles: the single-seat Vanaha at the end of this year and four-seat CityAirbus at the end of 2018.

“If we are reconsidering E-Fan now it is because we are shooting—as a leading aircraft manufacturer—for something more ambitious and timely, and the current E-Fan project would not have been able to scale up to this ambition,” Schaffrath says.

E-Fan X “is about preparing our future, coming out with the right answers at the right time. We are setting ourselves an ambition that goes well beyond E-Fan,” he says. “It is entirely conceivable that we could have hybrid electric single-aisle aircraft, we don’t know when though.”



Loading comments for Airbus Drops Electric Light Aircraft For Larger E-Fan X...


Recommended

Airbus hosts Asian Youth Orchestra in Toulouse

Airbus is hosting the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) in Toulouse for a special concert, organised in partnership with Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office. This concert is...

Cathay Pacific Group signs MOU for 32 A321neo aircraft

Cathay Pacific Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for 32 A321neo single-aisle aircraft. The aircraft will be operated by Cathay Dragon, the regional carrier of the Group,...

Increase in music festival activity boosts summer business for Luxaviation UK

Luxaviation UK, the UK's largest private aviation charter operator and part of the Luxaviation Group, is reporting an increase of 30% in this summer's music festival business (May to September...

Airbus successfully tests Dispenser Structure for GRACE-FO satellites

Airbus successfully tests the dispenser structure that will hold the twin satellites GRACE-FO (GRACE = Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, FO= Follow-On) during their launch. Once the satellites...