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Electric planes herald new era for aviation at the Paris Air Show

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Old June 22nd 19, 10:42 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default Electric planes herald new era for aviation at the Paris Air Show


Electric planes herald new era for aviation at the Paris Air Show
By Charles Riley, CNN Business

Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT) June 20, 2019

London (CNN Business)Airlines ordered tens of billions of dollars
worth of new aircraft from Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Air Show
this week. But there was also huge interest in the planes of tomorrow.

The rise of hybrid and electric aircraft was on full display at the
biannual aviation showcase, where startups competed with industry
giants to show off technology that's more efficient and better for the
environment than traditional designs.

The focus on electrically-propelled aircraft reflects a rush to
develop urban flying taxis (coming soon) and longer range fully
electric planes (coming later).

According to the consultancy Roland Berger, the number of electric
aircraft in development increased by roughly 50% over the past year to
170. The number could swell to 200 by the end of 2019.

There are two big factors driving increased investment: The global
aviation industry produces up to 3% of all carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions, a share that's projected to increase sharply in coming
years; and it spends roughly $180 billion a year on jet fuel.
"Increased efficiency has been the name of the game when selling
aircraft for decades," said Nikhil Sachdeva, a senior consultant at
Roland Berger. "Electric is the next phase."

Cape Air goes electric
Grabbing most attention in Paris was Israeli planemaker Eviation
Aircraft with its announcement that US regional carrier Cape Air would
be the first customer for Alice, its electric airplane.

Alice can fly nine passengers up to 650 miles on a single charge, and
Eviation claims it can cut airline operating costs by 70%.
Manufacturing gets underway in the United States this year.

The plane uses one main "pusher" propeller at the tail, and two more
on the wingtips. They are powered by batteries. The plane cruises at
10,000 feet.

A visitor to the Paris Air Show looks at the Alice electric aircraft
manufactured by Eviation Aircraft.

A visitor to the Paris Air Show looks at the Alice electric aircraft
manufactured by Eviation Aircraft.

'Third era of aviation'
The air show also saw a major deal by two European industrial

UK engineering company Rolls-Royce (RYCEF) purchased the electric and
hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion business of Germany's Siemens
(GCTAF). The deal is expected to close later this year.

The eAircraft business is based in Germany and Hungary, and employs
around 180 specialist engineers who are developing electric and hybrid
propulsion systems.

"Electrification is set to have as dramatic an impact on aviation as
the replacement of piston engines by gas turbines," said Rob Watson, a
director at Rolls-Royce. "We are at the dawn of the third era of

Hybrid aircraft by 2022
United Technologies (UTX) announced plans to merge with defense
contractor Raytheon (RTN) just prior to the Paris Auto Show.

And the company had some tech to show off to aviation enthusiasts,
pulling back the curtain on a hybrid electric project. The goal is to
have planes in the air by 2022.

The plane is built on a mid-sized regional turboprob, using the
existing airframe, systems and propellers. What's new is batteries and
a 2-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system.

A visualization of additions made as part of United Technologies'
hybrid project.

Airbus (EADSF) is also aiming to test a hybrid aircraft by 2022, and
it announced a collaboration this week with European aerospace firms
Daher and Safran to get there.

Daher will handle components and systems installation, while Safran
(SAFRF) will contribute a propulsion system called EcoPulse. Airbus
will tackle batteries and aerodynamic design.

A visualization of a plane equipped with EcoPulse.
The plane will run on a distributed hybrid propulsion system, which
includes a turbogenerator that powers electric motors and propellers.
Airbus also said this week that it has signed a memorandum of
understanding with SAS Scandinavian Airlines to research hybrid and
electric aircraft systems.

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