Airbus and Renault announce electric vehicle battery partnership
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Airbus and Renault have announced a new partnership to develop next-generation batteries for electric cars and planes.
The research and development agreement is aimed at accelerating both companies’ electrification roadmaps and will see their engineering teams joining forces to mature technologies related to energy storage, which remains one of the main roadblocks for the development of long-range electric vehicles.
The agreement will also cover technologies that are key to energy management optimisation and battery weight improvements.
In its announcement, Airbus said it wanted to move from current cell chemistries such as widely used lithium-ion batteries to all-solid-state designs which could double the energy density of batteries by 2030.
The joint work will also study the full lifecycle of future batteries, from production to recyclability, in order to prepare the industrialisation of these future battery designs while assessing their carbon footprint across their entire lifecycle.
“Aviation is an extremely demanding field in terms of both safety and energy consumption, and so is the car industry,” said Gilles Le Borgne, engineering EVP at Renault Group.
“Driven by the same ambition to innovate and reduce the carbon footprint, our engineering teams are exchanging 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.”
Alongside Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the French carmaker pledged in January to invest billions of pounds in electric vehicles over the next five years.
The three firms said they would jointly release 35 electric vehicles in that timeframe that would be based on five common platforms.
Sabine Klauke, chief technical officer at Airbus, said: “This cross-industry partnership with Renault Group will help us mature the next generation of batteries as part of Airbus’ electrification roadmap.
“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.”
Airbus has also been experimenting with a hydrogen plane demonstrator based on combustion in a gas turbine, which it hopes will take its first flight around the middle of this decade. Today the company announced that it is also developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell engine.
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