Rolls-Royce has entered into an agreement to acquire the electric and hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion activities of Siemens (the eAircraft business).
The eAircraft business, based in Germany and Hungary, employs around 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion solutions for the aerospace industry. Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Airbus have been partners on the hybrid-electric E-Fan X demonstrator programme. Under that effort, one of a BAe 146 regional jet's four turbofans will be replaced with an electric fan – powered by a combined gas turbine and electric generator in the aircraft's cabin – for flight tests scheduled to begin in 2021.
Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, commented: “We believe that pure electric, or all-electric, propulsion will power smaller aircraft in the foreseeable future, while larger aircraft will rely upon hybrid electric solutions that combine electrification with evolutions of the gas turbine."