Siemens is selling their eAircraft business unit for electric plane motors to Rolls-Royce. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The business unit for electrified propulsion systems for aircraft will have “substantially better growth perspectives with new owners closely connected to the aerospace industry,” Siemens stated in support of the sale. The partners have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.
Siemens eAircraft employs approximately 180 people who develop electric and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the aerospace industry. In cooperation with partners such as Airbus, prototypes for propulsion systems ranging from less than one hundred to several thousand kilowatts are being developed at the Munich, Erlangen and Budapest locations.
The most prominent example is the Airbus air taxi ‘City Airbus’. In 2016, eAircraft entered into a development partnership with Airbus to further advance the technology. At the beginning of May, however, there were initial rumours of early termination of the development cooperation between Airbus and Siemens for electric aircraft engines. Back then, a Siemens spokesperson had explained that “the agreed targets were achieved one year faster than expected so that an earlier separation is now taking place”.
Still, Roland Busch, CTO and COO of Siemens AG considers Rolls-Royce “a perfect home for this business and have placed its expertise in the hands of one of Airbus’ close partners. We will continue to cooperate with Rolls-Royce, in particular by making our digital solutions portfolio available in order to facilitate this major step toward sustainable, lower-emission aviation.”
Indeed, Rolls Royce is not a new partner for Siemens. Back in November 2017, Siemens, Airbus and Rolls Royce announced that they would fit a 100-seater regional jet with a hybrid electric drive for a turbine by 2020, at least in a test version. We expect to see still the E-Fan X project come to fruition.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.