Airbus and Renault combine R&D efforts on electrification


Renault Group and Airbus have signed a research and development agreement aimed at accelerating both companies’ electrification roadmaps. 

Airbus said the partnership will help it mature future hybrid-electric aircraft technologies. This tech will be detailed at the Airbus Summit taking place 30th November–1st December.

The two firm’s engineering teams will join forces working on technologies like energy storage, energy management optimisation and battery weight improvement. It will also look for the best pathways to move from current cell chemistries (advanced lithium-ion) to all solid-state designs which could double the energy density of batteries.

Gilles Le Borgne, EVP, Engineering, Renault Group said: “For the first time, two European leaders from different industries are sharing engineering knowledge to shape the future of hybrid-electric aircraft. Aviation is an extremely demanding field in terms of both safety and energy consumption, and so is the car industry.”

The joint work will also study the full lifecycle of future batteries, from production to recyclability, assessing footprint across their entire lifecycle.

Le Borgne continued: “At Renault Group, our 10 years of experience in the electric vehicle value chain gives us some of the strongest feedback from the field and expertise in the performance of battery management systems. Driven by the same ambition to innovate and reduce the carbon footprint, our engineering teams are exchanging with those of Airbus to converge transversal technologies that will enable both hybrid aircraft to be operated and the vehicles of tomorrow to be developed.

Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a unique challenge that requires cooperation across sectors, starting today, said Sabine Klauke, Airbus chief technical officer.

“Bringing together Renault Group’s experience in electric vehicles with our own track record in electric flight demonstrators will allow us to accelerate the development of the disruptive technologies required for future hybrid aircraft architectures in the 2030s and beyond,” explained Klauke. “It will also foster the emergence of common technical and regulatory standards in support of the clean mobility solutions needed to achieve our climate targets.”