Electricity: powering the future of flight

Aug 23, 2017

Innovations and recent advances in technology are reducing the cost and environmental impact of electric power. Today, Airbus researchers and engineers are investigating the best ways to incorporate the newest electric and hybrid propulsion systems to the aerospace sector.

This is set to continue as a result of growing cross-industry push in electric technologies and the targeted work that Airbus is doing with our key partners, notably Siemens. And with so much global investment going into battery technologies in particular, it is likely that we will see some groundbreaking advances in this area over the next 10-15 years.

Creating new electrical energy for use in aircraft has been a topic of interest for Fly Your Ideas students from around the world too. Back in 2015, the all-female Team Bolleboos reached the competition final for their pioneering WEGO system to generate electric energy during taxiing. The idea featured a transmitter, located just underneath the aircraft in the runway tarmac, which would transfer electrical power inductively to a receiver placed between the nose-wheels. This could provide a sustainable energy source to power ground operations, and potentially reduce carbon emissions by half.

For Airbus, the pace of development in this area is truly exciting because it allows us to radically rethink the way we design air vehicles.  The fact that electric motors are less costly and less heavy means they are potentially much easier to integrate into an aircraft, both completely new designs or an older design that could now realise its potential.

Find out more about our pioneering work in this exciting area here!