November 28, 2017 / 11:06 AM / in 19 days

Siemens, Airbus, Rolls-Royce team up on hybrid-electric propulsion

(Reuters) - Airbus AIR.PA, Rolls-Royce RR.L and Siemens SIEGn.DE have come together to develop a hybrid electric engine as the race intensifies to advance battery technology and electric motors to lower flying costs and move away from fossil fuels.

The logo of Airbus is pictured at the company's headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Dubbed the E-Fan X program, the three companies anticipate flying a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests, provisionally on a BAe 146 aircraft.

“We see hydro-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation,” Airbus Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko said in a joint statement.

Airbus will be responsible for the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls. Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo shaft engine and 2 megawatt generator, while Siemens will deliver the 2 MW electric motor.

In October, a Seattle-area startup - backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing Co BA.N and JetBlue Airways Corp JBLU.O - announced plans to bring a small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market by 2022.

Reporting by Richard Lough, editing by Louise Heavens

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