The Embraer fixed-wing, single-engine electric demonstrator aircraft might not look like your vision of our urban air mobility (UAM) future, but its electric conventional takeoff & landing (eCTOL) design makes it a perfect testbed. Let’s look at what Embraer is testing with the single-wing eCTOL.
Embraer has teamed up with WEG to convert an Embraer single-engine EMB-203 Ipanema crop duster into an electric demonstrator. WEG will focus on the electric motor and controller. The first flight of the aircraft will be next year. The other team player is California-based Parker Aerospace, which is going to supply the cooling system for the demonstrator.
This project truly aims at the integration of electric aviation components in the demonstrator aircraft for real operating condition testing, according to Embraer. According to AviationToday, Embraer was quoted saying:
“The partnership, in the context of pre-competitive research and development, seeks to accelerate the knowledge of the necessary technologies to increase the energy efficiency of an aircraft, considering the use and integration of electric motors into innovative propulsion systems. By establishing strategic partnerships through more agile cooperation mechanisms, Embraer is stimulating knowledge networks to allow a significant increase in Brazil’s competitiveness and the construction of a sustainable future.”
Add to this that Collins Aerospace unveiled a new $50 million high-voltage lab to develop a 1-megawatt (MW) motor, motor controller, and battery system for a hybrid electric demonstrator aircraft and you can see how the exorbitant investment predictions for next year might just well be topped.
The research and development will not only be used on Embraer eCTOL airplanes, but presumably also on its eVTOL aircraft, the EmbraerX air taxi concept called the DreamMaker. More to come on that topic.
The Embraer press release goes into a little more detail.
This is really Embraer making fuller use of its aeronautic capacity by speeding up the electrification of its aircraft. Although today Embraer produces traditional aircraft design, it is embarking on the wild eVTOL race while converting some of its CTOL airplanes to electricity.