Airbus, Daher and Safran are making a new hybrid electric aircraft

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Airbus, Daher and Safran have created a partnership to design a new hybrid electric turboprop named the EcoPulse.

Although this is the first we and many others have heard of the project, Airbus claims that the aircraft is scheduled for its maiden flight in 2022. The project gets a head start as it is based on Daher’s TBM platform.

This partnership was coordinated by the French Civil Aviation Research Council (CORAC) and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) to enhance the environmental efficiency of aircraft.

As part of the accord, Safran will provide the hybrid propulsion systems for the aircraft, Airbus will be responsible for aerodynamic optimisation and the other responsibilities including system installation, flight testing and the regulation process will be handled by Daher.

Whilst many aircraft manufacturers are working on fully-electric aircraft projects, many consider hybrid electric propulsion to be the first step aviation companies must take on the road to an all-electric future, giving time for battery technology to develop.

At our Revolution.Aero Europe conference in London, delegates and speakers all agreed that we will see hybrid propulsion aircraft in the skies before the transition to fully electric.

Nicolas Orance, SVP Aerospace and Defense BU at Daher said: “Reducing the environmental impact of aircraft is a priority for the industry as a whole. So, it is with enthusiasm and determination that we welcome the opportunity to be part of this unique partnership alongside Airbus and Safran to succeed in the ambitious challenge set by CORAC. We are determined to make it a distinctive feature of the French aviation industry, and are certain that all stakeholders will unite around it.”

This is an important project for all parties. Safran for example has set itself a target to be the leader in hybrid and electric propulsion by 2025.

Stéphane Cueille, head of R&T and innovation at Safran said: “Safran has developed a technology roadmap for the installation of electric thrusters on aircraft. EcoPulseTM offers us an excellent opportunity to evaluate and identify the specific features expected by this market, particularly in terms of new hybrid propulsion aircraft projects.”