HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Research & Technology

Research into electrical aircraft is taking off

According to a current Roland Berger study, electric-powered aircraft are about to turn the industry upside down. The number of experiments has apparently doubled since the beginning of 2017.

27 Jul. 2018
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Research into electrical aircraft is taking off (Photo: Airbus)

Roland Berger had already taken a look at the electrification of aviation in September of last year. At that time, they said that especially startups and smaller players were drivers of innovation and were working on projects for electrical aircraft propulsion. Progress is apparently noticeably accelerating. According to the consultants' the current study , this offers established companies a rare opportunity: they could observe this progress with minimal or even zero costs, and then align their strategy to fit successful developments - or to simply adopt them. However, if they miss the right moment, they run the risk of falling too far behind in the new markets. Another challenge is the difficulty of maintaining success in the aviation industry.

The previous study concluded that electrical aircraft electric propulsion "is a question of when rather than whether or not". In view of recent developments, the consultants continue to expect the industry to change significantly. What is new is that this change could become reality sooner than expected. The experts estimate that the first hybrid electrical aircraft with more than 50 seats could be flying between London and Paris by 2032. The manufacturers' schedules are also optimistic. For example, Siemens, Airbus and Rolls-Royce have teamed up for the first ever test of hybrid electrical propulsion in a larger aircraft in the air. The so-called E-Fan X is expected to take off for the first time in 2020.