Siemens Electric Airplane Motor Breaks New Ground

Siemens, Germany’s giant electronics company, has developed an innovative electric motor suitable for powering electric airplanes. The motor has 350 horsepower on tap but weighs a mere 120 pounds. That’s about 5 times as much power as most similar size motors. Siemens has installed the motor in an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane. It used the plane for a demonstration run recently at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany.

Siemens electric airplane motor

The (nearly silent) demonstration was the first public flight of an electric aircraft with a 260-kilowatt power output. The company’s plan is reportedly to integrate the technology into the development of hybrid electric aircraft, in partnership with Airbus. According to a press release, a hybrid electric aircraft with 4 or more seats is now a possibility within the near future. The step up to multi-seat aircraft powered by electric motors is a major development for planes powered by electricity.

“This day will change aviation,” stated Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Siemens’ central research unit Corporate Technology. “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.”

The press release says “the Extra 330LE, which weighs nearly 2,200 pounds, serves as a flying test bed for the new propulsion system. As an aerobatic airplane, it’s particularly well suited for taking the components to their limits, testing them and enhancing their design. Siemens and Airbus will reportedly use the motor in the development of regional aircraft. “By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers,” continued Anton.

“The first flight of our propulsion system is a milestone on the road to electrification of aviation,” commented Siemens chief technology officer Siegfried Russwurm. “To continue this journey successfully, we need disruptive ideas and the courage to take risks. That’s why the development of electric propulsion systems for aircraft is also the first project for our new start-up organization, next47.”

Source: EV Obsession


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.