Today, zero-emission flight is closer to reality than ever. Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is rapidly revolutionising mobility technologies across industries, from automotive to marine. And the aviation industry is no exception. Airbus is committed to developing, building and testing electric and hybrid-electric future technology that will enable the aviation industry to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of commercial aircraft.
In 2010, Airbus embarked on its electrification journey, developing the world’s first fully-electric, four-engine aerobatic aircraft, CriCri. Since then, Airbus has made significant progress in the electrification of flight. Our all-electric, twin propeller aircraft E-Fan successfully crossed the English Channel in 2015. Vahana, our single-seat electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle demonstrator, has been flight testing since 2018. CityAirbus, our eVTOL demonstrator with a four-passenger capacity, successfuly conducted its first take-off in May 2019. Both of our eVTOL demonstrators are undergoing a rigorous and comprehensive flight test programme to ensure safety and high performance. E-Fan X, the successor to E-Fan that is 30 times more powerful than its predecessor, is expected to take its first flight in 2021. For Airbus, our work in electric propulsion aims to drive the commercialisation of zero-emission, all-electric urban air mobility vehicles and, eventually, large commercial aircraft. Our goal is to make the technology available to fly a 100-passenger aircraft based on electric and hybrid-electric technology within the 2030s timeframe.
The CityAirbus was presented on March 11 at the City of Ingolstadt to members of the German government and the public. Citizens had the opportunity to ask Airbus experts questions about the vehicle and the concept of Urban Air Mobility. Airbus and Ingolstadt believe that a dialogue between manufacturer, authorities and the public are a prerequisite for the successful introduction of Urban Air Mobility in the infrastructure of cities. Airbus and Ingolstadt are partners in the framework of the EU’s EIP-SCC initiative for smart cities.Read more
2010: Airbus develops an electric version of an MC-15, CriCri, the world’s first fully-electric, four-engine aerobatic aircraft.
2011: Airbus co-funds the development of e-Genius, a two-seater electric aircraft built by the University of Stuttgard.
2011: The world’s first serial hybrid-electric aircraft, the DA36 E-Star, completes its maiden flight in Austria.
2011: Airbus flies an electric emergency back-up system (EBS) on a H120 for the first time
2013: E-Fan 1.0 becomes the first technology demonstrator developed in the Airbus portfolio.
2014: The all-electric, twin propeller aircraft E-Fan 1.9 makes its first flight using electric motors powered by dual-ducted fans.
2015: E-Fan 1.1 successfully crosses the English Channel.
2016: E-Fan 1.2 makes its debut as a hybrid test-bed, combining the energy of lithium-ion batteries with a range-extending combustion engine.
2017: Airbus launches E-Fan X, a much more ambitious version of the previous E-Fan demonstrators, based on hybrid-electric technology.
2018: E-Aircraft System House (EAS) opens, serving as Airbus’ electric ground-test powerhouse.
2018: Airbus’ self-piloted single-passenger eVTOL demonstrator, Vahana, conducts its first test flight.
2019: Airbus creates the first electric airplane race with Air Race E.
2019: Airbus' remotely piloted four-passenger eVTOL demonstrator, CityAirbus, successfully conducts its first take-off.
2021: Airbus will be the first to flight-test a hybrid-electric aircraft demonstrator using a BAe146 as a platform.