The Future of Aviation: Hybrid and Electric planes

Airbus, Rolls Royce and Siemens have announced to develop a hybrid plane which can fit upto 50-100 passengers and is expected to have prototype ready by 2020 and bring the product in the market by 2030. This project, so called E-Fan X, will help to fulfill the aim of developing an electric plane with the help of an aircraft maker, engine manufacturer and power generation supplier.

As part of the E-Fan X program, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens will each contribute with their extensive experience. Rolls-Royce will deliver a gas turbine and generator, which will create the power for the electric engine; Siemens will deliver the electric propulsion system to run on the generated electricity; and Airbus will develop the plane’s control architecture, as well as integrate the systems together in the final aircraft.

Mark Cousins, the head of flight demonstrators at Airbus, said: “We decided we needed to be more ambitious because the world and technology is moving so fast.” A number of airlines were interested, he said. “The objective is to reduce environmental impact and significantly reduce fuel burn.”

Paul Stein, the Rolls-Royce chief technology officer, said: “Aviation has been the last frontier in the electrification of transport, and slows to catch up. This will be a new era of aviation.”

“Siemens has been driving innovation in core technology fields at full speed,” said Roland Busch, Chief Technology Officer of Siemens. “With the E-Fan X partnership, we now take the next step to demonstrate the technology in the air.”

Recently, many companies have started to work on hybrid and electric aircraft like Boeing and Jetblues ‘Zunum Aero’, ‘Eviation’ by Israeli startup, NASA’s ‘Maxwell’etc which are developing small commuters. Alike these companies, E-Fan X is working on to make larger planes.

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