Boeing, Zunum Aero, Airbus, Purdue University.
Boeing bets on flying cabs: The U.S. planemaker has acquired Aurora Flight Sciences that has last been on the news with its VTOL sponsored by the Pentagon and also for working with Uber Elevate. The firm has been advancing autonomous flying capabilities since 1989. The acquisition has yet to be approved by the U.S. Defense Department as it includes the transfer of Aurora’s novel technologies.
And Boeing backs another high flyer in Zunum Aero, a company working on a small hybrid airplane due by 2022. Using two electric motors and an engine, Zunum says its commuter aircraft can carry up to 12 passengers at speeds of 550 kph on trips of under 1,600 km. Once battery technology advances by the end of the decade though, Zunum Aero wants to offer planes for up to 50 people flying ever further.
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Across the pond, Airbus has been busy to move into electric airspace for some time already and says its all-electric CityAirbus is ready to start real world tests before the end of 2018. Testing the electric propulsion system has been concluded successfully and so soon, the 4-person plane may zigzag the sky at 120 kph and can also start and land vertically.
Smarter converters: Researchers from Purdue University researchers have come up with a smaller, more efficient drive system for hybrid and electric vehicles. They designed an improved power inverter that can be used to convert direct current electricity into alternating current to power a motor.
Zunum Aero, Solar Trucks, Eberspaecher, Protean Electric.
Jump start for hybrid aircraft: U.S. start-up Zunum Aero that is backed by Boeing, wants to develop regional hybrid-electric aircrafts for the early 2020s. Its planes shall come with 10 to 50 seats, a range of 700 miles (1,110 km) and thus serve regional routes, namely San Francisco – Los Angeles or Boston – Washington, D.C. For 2030, Zunum Aero calculates its hybrid airplanes will manage 1,000 miles (1,600 km) thanks to improved battery tech.
theverge.com, fastcompany.com, venturebeat.com
Solar modules for trucks: Fraunhofer’s Institute for Solar Energy Systems and partners from the logistics and automotive sector want to integrate photovoltaic modules on the roof of vehicles in order to generate energy. The system Fraunhofer calls a “solar-active vehicle shell” is destined for commercial vehicles in particular as the solar power may be used for cooling goods if not propulsion.
Next-gen heaters for EV and HEV: German heating system specialist Eberspaecher goes serial with its third generation of high-voltage PTC heaters created especially for EV and HEV. According to the company, their updated system reaches a higher heat output despite a lighter weight.
16-inch in-wheel motor: Protean Electric and Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology (VIE) seek to jointly develop a 16-inch version of the ProteanDrive in-wheel motor (so far available in 18”). The new version is addressed to PHEV and EV and shall provide continuous power of 26 kW.