PHOTO CAPTION: Ashot HPS Hybrid-electric kit mounted to Rotax engine.

Third Hybrid Electric Aircraft Power Plant Debuts

First it was Siemens, than UC3M and now Ashot Ashkelon joins the race to produce electric hybrid propulsion systems for light aircraft.

Published: 19-Jun-2015

Earlier this year, Diamond Aircraft and Siemens revealed their powerful 260kW (348 hp) hybrid-electric aircraft engine.

That was followed more recently by researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) who have developed an emergency motor system designed to provide pilots of light aircraft with a backup electric motor that can add 20 km of range in the case of an engine failure.

Now at the biennial Paris Air Show, an Israeli firm rolled out a nearly identical motor system, this one designed specifically to be retrofit to Rotax 912 and 914 motors for light aircraft like the CFM Air DARDO on which the kit was mounted for the show. Pictured above, the motor offers similar capabilities to the UC3M engine, including added engine power for shorter takeoffs. It too can be decoupled from the piston engine. Writes Aviation Week:

"Operating the two engines simultaneously increases the power available, thus shortening take-off run and safely clearing obstacles at the airport. On landing, the electric motor can be activated in counter-rotation mode, providing thrust reversal for shorter landing runs. The electric engine can also be used as an alternator for battery charging and as a starter for the main engine. Electric propulsion can also be used in the air, providing active vibration damping for smoother, low-level flight."

The battery and control system was developed by Italian hybrid propulsion specialist Efesto.

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