posted on Oct, 18 2013 @ 03:54 PM
In 2010 EADS and Siemens flew a Cri-Cri (dear god what an ugly, and tiny airplane) that replaced the two 9hp engines with four electric motors. By
the end of this year they plan to fly an E-Fan, purpose designed around electric ducted propellers.
Both of those are battery powered. In June of 2011, they flew the E-Star, a hybrid electric HK36 Super Dimona motor glider. A year later, they flew
the E-Star 2, with an 80 kw hybrid electric motor, based on a Wankel engine, generator, and batteries.
Also under study is the E-Thrust, with Rolls-Royce. It's a distributed propulsion system using a turbine engine to power 6 electrically driven fans
integrated into the wings of a commercial aircraft.
Meanwhile, EADS and Siemens have also partnered with the Technical University of Munich on a four year project to develop light weight, high
efficiency motors in the 300-600 kw class, with an eye on the megawatt class.
Manufacturers and researchers appear to be in agreement: The way to develop electric propulsion for aircraft is to start small. But with the pace
at which technology is developing, electric-powered aircraft may not stay small very long.
In September 2010, EADS Innovation Works (IW) and Aero Composites Saintonge (ACS) flew a single-seat, 375-lb. Cri-Cri modified with four electric
motors in place of its two 9-hp piston engines. By the end of this year, EADS IW and ACS plan to fly the E-Fan, a two-seat training aircraft
purpose-designed around electric-powered ducted propellers.
The Cri-Cri and E-Fan are battery-powered, but in June 2011 EADS teamed with Siemens and Diamond Aircraft to fly the DA36 E-Star, an HK36 Super Dimona
motor glider modified to test a hybrid-electric drive system. A year later, in June 2012, the team flew the improved E-Star 2 with an 80-kw (107-hp)
serial-hybrid drive system based on a small Wankel engine, generator and batteries.