Electric plane brings new record

Two-seater with electric motor rises in just four minutes to 3, 000 meters altitude

High up: The previous record from the year 2013 undercut this electric aircraft by one minute and 10 seconds. © Siemens
Read out

Record in electric climbing: A two-seat electric plane has set a new world record in the climb. Powered by an electric motor, the Extra 330LE reached a height of 3, 000 meters in just four minutes and 22 seconds. Pilot and airplane undercut the previous record of a US aircraft by more than a minute. The builders see this as an important step towards a future electrification of aviation.

So far, aviation is still a domain of fossil fuels. However, aviation fuel kerosene and its exhaust gases are considered particularly harmful to the climate because they release greenhouse gases at high altitudes. Researchers have been experimenting with alternative drives for quite some time - from solar-powered aircraft such as the Solar Impulse 2 to the first four-seater with hydrogen drive.

The group of alternative flight variants also includes aircraft with electric or hybrid drive. The companies Siemens and Airbus are already working together to develop hybrid electric propulsion systems for regional aircraft with up to 100 passengers by 2020.

From zero to 3, 000 in four minutes

On the way there, an electric aircraft has set a new record: the electric powered aircraft Extra 330LE achieved a new world record on the airfield of Hünxe on the Lower Rhine. With its electric drive system from Siemens, the electric aircraft reached a height of 3, 000 meters in just four minutes and 22 seconds. Per second, the machine soared 11.5 meters into the air.

Thus undercut the electric aircraft and its pilot Walter Extra the previous record - set up by the American William Yates in 2013 - by one minute and 10 seconds. The World Air Federation Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) recognized the record flight. Now he is immortalized in the category "electric aircraft weighing up to 1, 000 kilograms". display

First electric liners already in 2030?

"This is another milestone on the way to the electrification of aviation, " says Frank Anton, Head of eAircraft at Siemens. At the heart of the record-breaking aircraft is an electric motor that generates five kilowatts of power per kilogram of weight. With a total weight of only 50 kilograms, he can provide 260 kilowatts of continuous electrical power.

"This tremendous performance was only possible with digital technologies that allowed us to optimize our powertrain to the technical limit, " explains Anton. The two-seat Extra 330LE aircraft, which weighs around 1, 000 kilograms, enables technicians to analyze and develop the interaction of the individual components.

Based on the record-breaking engine, Siemens and Airbus intend to develop hybrid electric aircraft in the future. "By 2030, we expect the first machines with up to 100 passengers and a range of around 1, 000 kilometers, " explains Anton.

(Siemens, 13.03.2017 - NPO)