Siemens shows off electric hybrid aircraft in Paris

The world of electric airplanes continues to expand as more and more well known companies get in on the act of developing aircraft for this sector of the aerospace industry.

Siemens is one of those joining in on the fun, recently talking about some of its technology that’s under the hood of the DA36 E-Star 2, which recently was showcased by aerospace giant EADS at the 2013 Paris Air Show.

The two-seater DA36 E-Star 2 is described as the  world’s first serial hybrid electric aircraft, and is being developed in conjunction with Diamond Aircraft. Siemens noted this plane is the next iteration in a technology that after “a predecessor model had demonstrated in 2011 that electric series hybrid drives are, in principle, suited for aircraft, the plane’s second generation proves that the technology is also appropriate for commercial use.”

image via Siemens

The plane’s propeller is powered by an electric motor with 65 kilowatts of continuous output, that gets its energy from a generator powered by a small Wankel engine that consumes little fuel. An EADS battery provides the plane with the energy it needs for take-off, and the battery is recharged when the plane is cruising.

Siemens said it had developed a new integrated drive system in which

all of the components are optimally coordinated with one another. The hybrid drive is around 100 kilograms (kg) lighter than that of the predecessor model of 2011. The new aircraft’s motor generates around five times as much output per kilogram as conventional drive systems.

Key aspects of the plane include that “the plane’s passenger capacity and range make it a realistic option for commercial use” and that “the drive system has a scalable output and can be expanded to power planes for 50 to 100 passengers.” It is hoped that aircraft powered by this plane’s hybrid system could achieve type certification in the general aviation category in three to five years.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling