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PHOTO CAPTION: Siemens electric aircraft motor

Breakthrough E-Plane Motor Announced

The new Siemens motor has five times the power density of previous electric motors found in experimental electric aircraft.

Published: 31-Mar-2015

In 2011, Airbus and Diamond Aircraft introduced the world's first series hybrid-electric airplane, a motorglider equipped with a Siemens electric motor rated at 60kW (80 bhp).

Fast forward four years. Siemens has now announced the development of a new motor that weighs just over 50kg, yet delivers 260kW (348 bhp) of power, five times more than comparable systems and more than four times the output of the 2011 motor. By way of comparison, Solar Impulse 2, the sun-powered aircraft currently on an around the world flight, is powered by four 13 kW (17.4 hp) electric motors.

Observes E&T, "The lightweight device provides 5kW of power per kilogram of weight – an outstanding ratio considering that conventional electric motors used in industrial applications deliver less than 1kW/kg. Drive systems used in electric vehicles usually provide about 2kW/kg, less than a half of what the Siemens engineers have achieved."

In announcing the breakthrough motor, the head of eAircraft at Siemens Corporate Technology Frank Anton stated, "This innovation will make it possible to build series hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats. We’re convinced that the use of hybrid-electric drives in regional airliners with 50 to 100 passengers is a real medium-term possibility.”

Testing of the motor will begin later this year.

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