Airbus has partnered with Rolls-Royce and Siemens to develop the E-Fan X hybrid-electric flight demonstrator.

Development of the near-term demonstrator is expected to pave the way for hybrid-electric propulsion in commercial aircraft.

Set to debut in 2020, the E-Fan will feature hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, developed by Airbus.

“We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation.”

Airbus will also look after the overall integration of flight control systems with the demonstrator under the new collaboration.

Rolls-Royce will provide the turbo-shaft engine, a 2MW generator and power electronics for the E-Fan demonstrator.

The company will also work with Airbus on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor.

Siemens will deliver the 2MW electric motors and their power electronic control unit, as well as the inverter, DC/DC converter and power distribution system.

The E-Fan demonstrator is set to undergo a comprehensive ground test campaign, provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed, with one of the aircraft’s four gas turbine engines replaced by a 2MW electric motor, before making its first flight.

Airbus chief technology officer Paul Eremenko said: “The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future.

“The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators, starting with the Cri-Cri, including the e-Genius, E-Star, and culminating most recently with the E-Fan 1.2, as well as the fruits of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens, will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective.

“We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation.”

With the latest partnership, the companies aim to meet the EU’s technical environmental goals of the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation.