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Roland Berger : Electrification of aviation: start-ups drive innovation
Munich (ots) - More and more systems on board aircraft are being converted to electric drives. The first fully or partially electrically powered aircraft are already being tested or in the approval process, such as an autonomously flying air taxi that was recently presented in Dubai. It is mostly start-ups or small players who work on projects for electric aircraft propulsion systems; the traditional aircraft manufacturers have so far only been marginally involved. But the industry must not underestimate the development and should prepare for this change, according to the new Roland Berger study "Aircraft Electrical Propulsion - The Next Chapter of Aviation?".
"The question is no longer whether, but when, electrically powered aircraft will be the norm," says Manfred Hader, partner at Roland Berger. "Aviation will change dramatically over the next few decades." New players always come into play. The Roland Berger experts put 70 electric model projects under the microscope: Almost half (46%) of them are run by start-ups or independent developers. The major aircraft manufacturers are only involved in 18 percent of the cases. A mistake, says Hader: "The traditional aviation industry should not only monitor developments closely, but also actively contribute and enter into suitable partnerships, for example with start-ups, at an early stage."
Technical progress shows the way
The development towards electric flying has only just begun and there are still a few hurdles on the way. On the one hand, there is the market: Since electric drives are initially only suitable for short distances, demand is low. There are also technical challenges: For the widespread use of full and hybrid electrical systems in aircraft construction, the storage density of batteries in particular must increase significantly. In addition, motors that are light and powerful at the same time are required, which also allow completely new designs, for example with multiple propellers. Because: "For electric flying it is not enough to simply convert today's aircraft models to electric motors," says Hader. "The entire aircraft design must become more energy-efficient."
But progress is already going in the right direction. The Roland Berger experts expect the storage density of batteries to reach 0.5 kilowatt hours per kilogram by 2025. From this value onwards, the batteries can be used sensibly in aviation. "With the long development periods in aircraft construction, that is not so far away," says Hader. "This shows that the aircraft manufacturers should deal with this trend now, otherwise they may be too late."
Regulation has to keep pace with change
The authorities have also recognized this: In the past few months, both the American (FAA) and the European Aviation Authority (EASA) have basically approved electric drives for aircraft. "This opens up opportunities for the development of new systems in aviation," says Hader. "Now regulation has to keep pace with technological developments and optimally accompany the transition." The focus is on the security and reliability of the systems.
How quickly and to what extent aviation is electrified depends on various factors. The Roland Berger experts believe four scenarios are possible: from slow evolution to revolution through the rapid development of new technologies that enable hybrid-electric or even fully electric propulsion systems for large aircraft. "Our scenarios show the range of possible developments," says Hader. "Even if it is still unclear which of these will ultimately occur: the fact is that aviation will change. The industry has to adapt to this, the sooner the better."
You can find the full study at www.rolandberger.de/pressemitteilungen
Roland Berger, founded in 1967, is the only one of the world's leading management consultancies with German origins and European roots. With around 2,400 employees in 34 countries, the company is successfully active in all major global markets. Roland Berger's 50 offices are located in central business locations around the world. The consulting company is an independent partnership exclusively owned by around 220 partners.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Claudia Russo Roland Berger Head of Regional Marketing & Communications Germany and Switzerland Tel .: +49 89 9230-8190 Email: [email protected] www.rolandberger.com
Original content by: Roland Berger, transmitted by news aktuell
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