Siemens 260 kW electric aircraft motor makes first public flight

Siemens 260 kW electric aircraft

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that delivers a continuous output of about 260 kW and weighs 50 kg. The new drive system, designed for a joint project of Siemens and Airbus to develop electrified aircraft, recently made its maiden flight in an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane.

“This day will change aviation,” said Frank Anton, Siemens’ head of eAircraft. “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.” The Extra 330LE, which weighs about 1,000 kg, is particularly well suited to serve as a flying test bed for the new propulsion system.

Siemens and Airbus plan to use the new motor as a basis for developing regional airliners powered by hybrid propulsion systems. “By 2030, we expect to see initial aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1,000 kilometers,” said Anton.

Siemens 260 kW electric aircraft


SEE ALSO: Airbus and Siemens collaborate on hybrid electric propulsion systems for aircraft


Source: Siemens via Green Car Congress

  • Eco Logical

    I can’t wait until practical electric aircraft are available for private use.

    • Gbrandstetter

      I have a PPL for thirty years. I will not fly a gas burner. Go electric

      • Jim Fox

        WHAT is a PPL?

        • Manfred Schmidt

          p rivate p ilot l icense

          • Jim Fox

            Thanks. FYI, I have a GWI !

      • Eco Logical

        How long have you been flying electric aircraft and what do you recommend for a guy like me who hasn’t yet gotten a Private Pilot’s License?

  • windrider991

    This is an awesome advance for aviation! Very exciting indeed!

  • EMF

    I’m all for it. I predict that in the next 30 yrs, many planes, private and comercial will be electric. And they’ll have trans Atlantic range. Great stuff.

  • Daniel

    Thanks simens to save our world. No smoke,No tererist

  • Gbrandstetter

    Its not the motor that weighs. It the battery. What breakthrough battery?

    • Dennis Worley

      I agree with this question 2

    • Emil

      A very good question. Before speaking about a lightweight plane’s electric motor, you must speak about the weight and the lifetime of the batteries for it’s power supplyuing.

    • Eco Logical

      Electric Motors, especially (brushless/reliable) AC motors only recently had a breakthrough in power density … the Siemens motor at 5 kW/kg (3 hp/lb) is dramatically higher than it was a few years ago … a 260 kW motor in the 20th century literally weighed tons e.g. the electric motors in Locomotives.
      Aluminum-air batteries are as energy dense as gasoline (and more efficient) and have already been demonstrated by Phinergy as a range extender for a Li-ion battery pack in an EV … 50 kg (110 lb) of Aluminum plates extend the range to 1,600 km (1,000 miles). The Aluminum Oxide byproduct is then sent back to an ALCOA smelter for regeneration of new aluminum plates … the Aluminum is infinitely recyclable … perfect for aircraft!!!

      • Emil

        Aluminum Oxide regeneration needs a huge power – 13-15kWh/kg, and of course, is expensive. Aditional power will be needed for charging the batteries too. So actually Al-Oxide will be the costly “fuel” of this electric plane ? Electric battery option, at the present level of development, could be probably more expensive and pollutive than the regular Jet Fuel. Liquefied MHHO / Ohmasa Gas Fuel option is 100% clean&renewable, lightweight, compact, cheap and safe. Used in existing standard Jet engines and Gas Turbines (the BEST weight-power ratio!). The only waste is water. There are already several methods for low-power and low-cost water electrolysis for generation MHHO at a price, close to zero. This is the right way to go. Batteries are a very wrong way.

        • Eco Logical

          Aluminum Oxide regeneration needs huge power because it STORES huge power, and most (about 80%) of that power you get back in the Aluminum-air battery, that’s what makes it such a good energy carrier. All modern Aluminum smelters are located at (remote) hydroelectric sites due to the clean and reliable energy source. ALCOA’s biggest smelter is at a hydroelectric site on the St Lawrence river in Quebec, Canada. The MHHO gas you talk about requires electrical power as well for the ‘electrolysis’ (duh) but then it has to be compressed to store it and if burned you get less than half of the energy back … any heat engine is limited by the ‘Carnot’ efficiency. If you burn anything in air (especially at the high temperature/pressure in a jet engine, ICE, or gas turbine) you get a nasty/deadly byproduct called NITROUS OXIDE … forms NITRIC ACID when it combines with water in the lungs causing asthma and, if high enough concentration, eats the lungs out i.e. complete lung failure. Nitrous Oxides are the emissions from the TDI Diesel engines in the VW ‘diesel gate’ scandal … VW has recently been fined $8,000,000,000 (eight billion dollars) … need I say more?

          • Emil

            MHHO is the cleanest fuel. No Nitrous Oxide or else harmful gases evolves at all. MHHO flame is actually a cold plasma beam with only 140deg.C it’s own flame temperature. The only byproduct after burning MHHO is 100% water. Although ALCOA uses the cheapest power, a kilo of Al2O3 will cost over USD 2.00/kg probably. Also, Al2O3 production by the Hall/Herault Cycle is very harmful, with a large CO2 and FH emmission. There are newly invented technologies for cheap, low-power, sono-modified water electrolysis, producing 1 liter MHHO gas with less than 0.8Wh/L, making the MHHO the cheapest fuel ever, including compression and/or liquefaction.

            You need to read more about HHO and MHHO.

          • Eco Logical

            Burn – burn – burn … bad idea … if MHHO works in a hydrogen fuel cell maybe … but at 0.8Wh/L it’d take over 15,000 liters to propel an electric car 100 km (60 miles) i.e. 15 kWh per 100 km for a Tesla S/X. But let’s keep a little perspective here, metal-air batteries are heck of a lot better than ICEs and fossil fuels!

          • Emil

            As I said, MHHO is a perfect, lightweight, compact and 100% safe storage for Pure Hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel in HFCs for onboard power generation. But even the best modern Hydrogen Fuel Cells are still too heavy and hard for maintenance. Using directtly MHHO as a fuel in the existing IC car and jet engines and gas turbines is still the best option. Based on 0.8Wh/L MHHO ( or 1.29Wh/L Hydrogen ), with let say 100 kWh electric energy, you can produce 125,000L MHHO per hour, “consuming” 0.540L water (100% renewable) per kilowatt, or 54L water per 100kWh. After liquefaction at -178deg.C, these 125,000L can be filled in a bottle, as 66.8 kg liquid. Then you can drive a 100 kW CNG-converted car for 2.5 hours, at 300 km distance, with these 66.8kg liquefied MHHO (LMHHO). Using a HHO power plant, MHHO’s production and liquefaction cost are almost zero.

    • JestMe

      Elon Musk seems to agree with you. It looks like the solution to the problem is already at hand.

  • Luke Brechtelsbauer

    does it have regen for the descents? how fast can it charge? where’s the specs?

  • Emil

    — Using Liquefied MHHO (LMHHO) gas and a regular airplane’s IC engine or a Gas turbine (the best weight-power ratio) is times better than shipping around heavy and short-life batteries. Light, compact and safe LMHHO can be also used as an onboard Pure Hydrogen and Oxygen storage. Then, if you prefer, you can use the pure hydrogen and oxygen gases as fuels for a hydrogen fuel cell HFC stack, generating power for supplying an electric motor. But HFCs are heavy too. The best option is LMHHO -> IC engine. solargas alle bg

    • QKodiak

      I’m sorry, but burning anything in a complicated ICE or Jet turbine isn’t the answer.

      • Emil

        IC engines and turbines are a result of 100 years development and hard work of million people. There is no sense to throw this successful development in the garbage. IC engines ( but maybe NG- or Hydrogen-converted) will be still used probably 100 years after the first electric Boeing or Airbus plane start to fly regularly, with 300 passengers onboard.

        • Jilles van Gurp

          When it makes sense from a cost perspective, sure. The point of electric airplanes is vast cost reductions. Fuel is expensive and maintaining engines that burn fuel is expensive. Once battery kwh/kg catches up in the next 5-10 years, people will be able to fly planes that have relatively few parts, that are cheap to maintain, and are cheap to operate, that are far less noisy than their fuel consuming counter parts. It’s going to be a no brainer for big airlines. It’s also going to allow them to fly in and out of places that they currently can’t fly because of pollution and noise concerns. That’s why manufacturers are doing this.

          For reference, current teslas do about 0.14kg per kwh (85kwh/600kg). That is on the heavy side for a small plane. The above engine would require about 1800 kg for 1 hour of flight (assuming sustained max output). That’s a lot but there are already batteries available that offer twice the energy density and arguably you don’t need the full power all the time (only during takeoff).

          And of course you should be careful to compare the energy density of fuel to batteries since the efficiency of of electric motors is way better than even the smoothest running fuel burning engine. Jet engines produce more heat and noise than thrust. Adding it all up means that with the current pace of development, you should expect the first fully electric commercial airplanes to fly within the next 10 years. That will really upset the commuter jet market because they’ll be vastly cheaper to operate once they manage to squeeze out enough range and performance.

          The reason fuel planes will still be around for a while is that they simply last a very long time. A lot of the GA planes flying today are decades old and they’ll be flying for some time to come; as long as people maintain them basically. Similarly, any commercial jet sold today, will fly for a couple of decades. But making and buying new ones is going to make less and less sense and I expect a lot of the currently flying planes to be retired early because of the operational cost.

          • Emil

            A bottle of 200 kg liquefied MOH Gas Fuel will allow a small airplane to fly for thousand miles. MOH could be burned as it is in a Gas Turbine (best weight-to-power ratio), or pure Hydrogen could be extracted out of MOH onboard, on-demand, for supplying a Hydrogen Fuel Cell for power generation and driving noiseless electric-motor propellers. Liquid MOH is 2.5 times denser than the liquid Hydrogen (167kg/m3 H2 vs 70kg/m3 H2) and 100 times cheaper ($0.10/kg MOH vs $10/kg H2). MOH cannot be ignited by a spark and performs no leakage and embrittlement as the pure hydrogen.

  • +++ AmazingDomains.CO +++

    the future of all evs, including airplanes, is entirely in batteries performances’ hands … if the right innovations will happen soon, we could see electric airlines well before 2030

  • Jim Fox

    Not easy to get enthused about this, even though a big fan of an all-electric world. Unless there is a monumental breakthrough, this technology will likely apply only to lightweight short range propeller aircraft. Ironically Alvin Weinberg’s Oak Ridge LFTR experiment was designed to develop a nuclear reactor safe and small enough to power a heavy bomber with unlimited range and performance. So, just maybe, the future of mass aviation will be powered by thorium??

    • Nosig

      Jim, the progress is ongoing and accelerating. Battery density just as durability has doubled over the last few years and costs have halfed. This is a 340 hp electric aircraft (!!) that can do a complete aerobatic session at least as good and as long as the gasburner equivalent. That was unthinkable 10 years back. The breakthrough is constant, but sometimes you need to rewind a bit to see the immens progress.

      • Jim Fox

        Agreed. But there is a gulf between a small lightweight and a 787 or A380- or even an A320. That motor is an amazing leap forward.
        I see Honda has just released a new motor that needs no ‘rare earths’ and is 10% lighter and cheaper than its previous best. Progress is accelerating impressively.
        I’m totally convinced the next great leap will be to mass acceptance of LFTR’s, led by Indonesia, of all places! And sooner than experts say.