Airbus Considers 19-seat Hybrid-Electric Aircraft
Airbus is considering general aviation aircraft with up to 19 seats with hybrid-electric power after meeting with potential development partners, a senior executive told Flightglobal.
The new studies replace plans to develop a smaller, four-seat, hybrid-electric general aviation aircraft after demonstrating the propulsion technology in a future two-seat trainer and current two-seat prototype.
But the larger aircraft concept, if launched, would still serve its primary purpose as a stepping-stone towards Airbus’ long-term ambition, which is to develop a 90-seat airliner with a distributed, hybrid-electric propulsion system.
Airbus flew the prototype, battery-powered E-Fan 1.0 across the English Channel last year. A new E-Fan 1.2 with a hybrid-electric motor, including an avgas-powered “range extender," will appear at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in next week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Airbus is now developing a two-seat E-Fan 2.0 trainer for subsidiary VoltAir to operate commercially after 2017.