Embraer unveiled an electric demonstrator aircraft it will use to research and develop electric propulsion technology. Photo: Embraer
Embraer unveiled its fixed-wing, single-engine electric demonstrator aircraft on Aug. 16, as the company seeks to play a part in the reduction of carbon emissions and to become a major force in the urban and regional mobility markets.
Another Brazilian company, WEG, is building the demonstrator's electric motor and controller under a teaming agreement announced in May. First flight of the aircraft, based on the Embraer single-engine EMB-203 Ipanema crop duster, is to come next year, according to Embraer. California-based Parker Aerospace is to supply the cooling system for the demonstrator.
Over the next few months, the three companies "will continue to test the systems in the labs preparing the integration in the demonstrator aircraft for testing under real operating conditions," Embraer said.
"The partnership, in the context of pre-competitive research and development, seeks to accelerate the knowledge of the necessary technologies to increase the energy efficiency of an aircraft, considering the use and integration of electric motors into innovative propulsion systems," according to the company. "By establishing strategic partnerships through more agile cooperation mechanisms, Embraer is stimulating knowledge networks to allow a significant increase in Brazil’s competitiveness and the construction of a sustainable future."
The aircraft's electric motor and controller are being manufactured by WEG at the company's headquarters in Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Photo: Embraer
Embraer is one of several aircraft manufacturers and technology suppliers researching and developing electric aircraft technology. As an example, in June, California aviation company Ampaire's hybrid-electric Cessna 337 Skymaster made its first test flight.
Just two weeks after the test flight Personal Airline Exchange placed an order for 50 Skymasters. The largest seaplane airline in North America, Harbour Air, also plans to begin flight testing all-electric propulsion technology this year. In April, Collins Aerospace unveiled a new $50 million high-voltage lab to develop a 1-megawatt (MW) motor, motor controller and battery system for a hybrid electric demonstrator aircraft.
In addition to the fixed-wing demonstrator, Embraer's urban air mobility business, Embraer-X, is developing an air taxi concept — the DreamMaker — with the goal of running on electric power.
WEG has teamed with Embraer on this project as well.
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