Rolls-Royce finalizes Siemens eAircraft acquisition

Avatar for eVTOLBy eVTOL | October 4, 2019

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 5 seconds.

Rolls-Royce has completed the acquisition of Siemens’ electric and hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion activities, formerly known as the eAircraft business.

Rolls-Royce eVTOL
Rolls-Royce’s eVTOL concept, unveiled last year. The acquisition of Siemens’ eAircraft business adds “vital skills and technology” to Rolls-Royce’s portfolio as it works to “champion electrification,” according to the company’s Rob Watson. Rolls-Royce Image

The acquisition, initially announced in June, provides Rolls-Royce with “vital skills, expertise, and new technology” as it works to develop a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport, according to Rolls-Royce Electrical director Rob Watson.

“We are very pleased with the rapid execution of the necessary legal and procedural steps to complete this acquisition,” Watson stated in a press release. “We are welcoming our new colleagues into Rolls-Royce [and] look forward to working with them to pioneer new technologies and solutions.”

The former Siemens business, based in Germany and Hungary, employs around 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers. They will continue to work in their existing locations, Rolls-Royce said.

The eAircraft team has already collaborated with Rolls-Royce on the E-Fan X demonstrator project with Airbus. For that project, Rolls-Royce is developing a 2.5-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system suitable for regional aircraft. Rolls-Royce is also developing a hybrid version of its M250 gas turbine engine, which will have an expected power range from 500 kilowatts to 1 megawatt, ideal for small VTOL platforms.

Last year, Rolls-Royce revealed a hybrid-electric VTOL concept incorporating the M250, which the company said could potentially carry four or five passengers at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour (400 kilometers per hour) for 500 miles (800 km).

More recently, in August of this year, the company launched a joint research program on zero-emissions aviation with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia.

Although the eAircraft acquisition will directly support such projects, its benefits to Rolls-Royce will extend beyond aviation, according to chief technology officer Paul Stein. “The technology portfolio and skills that we have acquired complement our existing developments in electrification, which include micro-grids and hybrid electric trains as well as aerospace applications,” he stated.

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