An unusual alliance has come together in the field of the electrification of mobility: The car manufacturer Renault and the aircraft manufacturer Airbus bundle their development capacities and thus leverage synergies.
Under the partnership, Airbus and Renault Group engineering teams will work together to develop technologies related to energy storage, which remains a major challenge for the development of long-range electric vehicles. For Airbus the collaboration is about the development of hybrid aircraft, for Renault it is about electric driving range and price/performance.
The cooperation agreement will cover in particular technological building blocks to optimise energy management and develop lighter batteries. Engineers will look for the best ways to move from current cell chemistries (advanced lithium-ion cells) to solid-state batteries. This technology is expected to double the energy density of batteries by 2030.
The joint work will also examine the entire life cycle of future batteries, from manufacturing to recyclability, to prepare for the industrialisation of these future battery concepts while assessing their CO2 footprint throughout their life cycle.
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“For the first time, two leading European companies from different industries are sharing their technical knowledge to shape the future of hydride-electric aircraft. Aviation is an extremely demanding sector, both in terms of safety and energy consumption, and the same is true for the automotive industry. Thanks to our 10 years of experience in the electric vehicle value chain, Renault Group has the best feedback from the field and the greatest expertise in battery management system performance. Driven by the same ambition to innovate and reduce CO2 emissions, our engineering teams are exchanging ideas with those of Airbus to bring together cross-cutting technologies that will enable both the operation of hybrid aircraft and the development of tomorrow’s vehicles,” said Gilles Le Borgne, EVP, Engineering, Renault Group.
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“This cross-industry partnership with Renault Group will help us develop the next generation of batteries as part of Airbus’ electrification roadmap,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a unique challenge that requires cross-sector collaboration that starts today. By bringing together the Renault Group’s experience in electric vehicles with our own track record in electric flight demonstrators, we can accelerate the development of the breakthrough technologies required for future hybrid aircraft architectures in the 2030s and beyond. This will also foster the development of common technical and regulatory standards to support the clean mobility solutions we need to achieve our climate goals.
Technological trends are moving in the same direction. Airbus and Renault Group’s collaboration on electrification will play an important role in changing the transport landscape and successfully contribute to both the automotive and aviation sectors becoming net zero emission by 2050.