Renault and Airbus team up on EV tech for planes, battery gains and automobiles

30 Nov 2022

The Renault Group and Airbus will team up on the development of electric technologies that could speed up the development of both car batteries and lower-emission planes.

Now, don’t get excited: they’re not working together on a flying electric car. It’s actually less fanciful but more significant: the two firms have signed a research and development agreement that will involve looking into areas where they can team up on the development of future electric technology – with a particular focus on energy management optimisation and future battery cell technology.

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The aim is to see if sharing key technology and learning can speed up development of both Renault’s electric car technology and future hybrid-electric planes from Airbus. Clearly, the latter won’t be pure electric machines – current battery tech is simply too heavy to allow it – but it could be a key step in reducing the substantial emissions of commercial aircraft.

As part of the partnership, Renault Group and Airbus will look at the best way to move from current lithium-ion battery cell technology to solid state, which has long been sought by battery tech boffins due to its ability to add substantial amounts of range and reduce charging times. They will also work together to look into the lifecycle of future battery tech from production to recycling, in order to try and reduce the carbon footprint of the units.

Gilles Le Borgne, Renault Group’s engineering chief, said the partnership was the first time two European firms “from different industries are sharing engineering expertise to shape the future of hydrid-electric aircrafts.”

He added: “Aviation is an extremely demanding field in terms of both safety and energy consumption, and so is the car industry. At Renault Group, our 10 years of experience in the electric vehicle value chain gives us some of the strongest feedback from the field and expertise in the performance of battery management systems.”

Airbus technical chief Sabine Klauke said that partnership “will help us mature the next generation of batteries as part of Airbus’ electrification roadmap.” 

Klauke added: “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.”


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