Industry giants Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have set 2020 as their target year for trying out a commercial aircraft that was modified to allow semi-battery-powered flight. This plane, which will be partially run on electricity, will be called the E-Fan X, which people may recognize as a modified BAe146 (100-seater).
Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens hope that this new electric plane could be the commercial aircraft of choice in the future. In fact, they hope that more companies will follow suit and adapt this technological change as early as 2025.
The plan is to replace one of E-Fan X’s four engines with a two-megawatt electric motor, and see how it handles, or if there are any substantial changes to the aircraft’s range. If none are seen, then there is a huge chance that two engines could be replaced by electric motors.
The coming together of the three major companies wasn’t a coincidence, as each of them will take on a specific role in the creation of this hybrid plane. Airbus will integrate the new engine with the flight controls. Rolls-Royce will create the engine, its two-megawatt power source, and the electronics to power it. And Siemens will provide the network for power distribution.