Paris Air Show visitors got a glimpse of what is claimed to be the world’s first-ever serial hybrid electric airplane this week in the DA36 E-Star, just two weeks after the aircraft made its successful first flight. The aircraft, developed by Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and EADS, is the first to employ a so-called serial hybrid electric drive.
The DA-36 E-Star’s propeller is powered by a 70 kW electric motor, which receives electricity from the aircraft’s small Wankel engine and generator. The aircraft, which was modeled off of the HK36 Super Dimona, relies on a battery to provide the extra power needed for takeoff and climb, and recharges it during cruise.
Because of the airplane’s low engine output, sponsors say the DA-36 E-Star decreases fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 25 percent when compared to conventional aircraft.
With the rising costs of fuel and the fact that air travel is responsible for 2.2 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, Siemens representatives say they hope the technology being tested in smaller aircraft like the DA-36 E-Star will pave the way for innovation on a larger scale.