​NBAA: Safran shows off electric power technology

A Safran-designed electric motor could be flight-tested on an advanced demonstrator within two years, as the company seeks potential applications for the technology.

The first electric motor from Safran’s ENGINeUS range is being presented at NBAA – the ENGINeUS 45 motor, which has a continuous power of 45kW. It forms part of a family of electric motors designed for future hybrid and electric aircraft which will eventually include a range of electric motors up to 500kW.

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“This technology is key for everything related to V/STOL [vertical/short take-off and landing] and STOL aircraft,” says Thomas Romeyer, director of sales and marketing Safran Electrical & Power. “This could revolutionise the aerospace world. You have hundreds of full- or hybrid-electric projects like Uber Elevate and Zunum.”

Romeyer says that flight-testing of one the Safran motors could come in either 2019 or 2020: “It could be on a V/TOL technology demonstrator,” he says.

Safran has tested the motor displayed at NBAA on its electrical integration benches to verify its performance. Four of the motors have undergone ground-testing on a full distributed propulsion hybrid-electric system to simulate the requirements of hybrid and electric aircraft.

A next step in the testing programme would be trials directly on a platform, says Romeyer. “But this would not be our test, it would be the test of our customer.”