24 Jul 2024


Hybrid aircraft drive ‘could scale up to 100-passenger planes’

An aircraft powered by a serial-hybrid electric drive system has been shown at the Le Bourget air show in Paris, France, this week, with the claim that it could cut fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25%, as well allowing quiet takeoffs.

The DA36 E-Star 2 aircraft (above), developed by the Austrian company Diamond Aircraft in collaboration with Siemens and EADS, is powered by a 13kg motor (shown below) with an integrated gearbox and electronics, that delivers 80kW during takeoff and can produce 65kW continuously when cruising. The motor’s specific continuous output of 5kW/kg is about five times higher than that of a typical industrial motor. The motor is linked to a generator powered by an Austro Engine Wankel rotary engine.

For takeoff and climbing, additional energy is drawn from a battery which is recharged during cruising. This battery has been supplied by EADS Innovation Works.

“The technology is scalable and will soon be making its way into small aircraft and, in the future, commercial aircraft with 50 to 100 passengers, making aviation greener,” says Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of Siemens Drive Technologies division.

The motorised glider demonstrated at Le Bourget completed a one-hour maiden flight in Austria on June 1. It is 100kg lighter than an earlier version that was tested in 2011. It is said to have a realistic capacity and range for a commercial aircraft.

Siemens, EADS and Diamond Aircraft have signed a declaration of intent for closer co-operation on the development of hybrid electric aircraft.