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Renault, Airbus Partner to Get Advanced Hybrid-Electric Aircraft off the Ground

Image courtesy of Renault Group electric car and aircraft
Partnership aims to advance technologies associated with energy storage and battery design that will benefit both the aviation and automotive industries.

Airbus and Renault Group have signed a research and development agreement that aims to enhance “transversalities and synergies” to accelerate both companies’ electrification roadmaps and improve their respective range of products. This partnership will help Airbus develop technologies associated with future hybrid-electric aircraft.

As part of this partnership, engineering teams from Airbus and Renault will join forces to bring to maturity technologies related to energy storage, which remains one of the main roadblocks for the development of long-range electric vehicles. The cooperation agreement notably will seek to optimize energy management and battery weight, and explore the best pathways to move from current cell chemistries (advanced lithium-ion) to solid-state designs, which could double the energy density of batteries in the 2030 timeframe.

The joint work will also study the full lifecycle of future batteries, from production to recyclability, in order to prepare their industrialization while assessing their full carbon footprint.

“For the first time, two European leaders from different industries are sharing engineering knowledge to shape the future of hybrid-electric aircrafts,” said Gilles Le Borgne, EVP, Engineering, Renault Group. “Aviation is an extremely demanding field in terms of both safety and energy consumption, and so is the car industry. At Renault Group, our 10 years of experience in the electric vehicle value chain gives us some of the strongest feedback from the field and expertise in the performance of battery management systems. Driven by the same ambition to innovate and reduce the carbon footprint, our engineering teams are exchanging [ideas] with those of Airbus to converge transversal technologies that will enable both hybrid aircraft to be operated and the vehicles of tomorrow to be developed,” said Le Borgne.

“This cross-industry partnership with Renault Group will help us mature the next generation of batteries as part of Airbus’ electrification roadmap,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a unique challenge that requires cooperation across sectors, starting today. Bringing together Renault Group’s experience in electric vehicles with our own track record in electric flight demonstrators will allow us to accelerate the development of the disruptive technologies required for future hybrid aircraft architectures in the 2030s and beyond. It will also foster the emergence of common technical and regulatory standards in support of the clean mobility solutions needed to achieve our climate targets.”

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