Diamond Aircraft has announced plans for an all-electric version of its DA40 trainer. On October 12, the manufacturer said the eDA40 model is expected to make a first flight during the second quarter of 2022 and complete type certification in 2023.
The eDA40 will be powered by the EPiC Ecosystem battery and motor technology developed by U.S.-based Electric Power Systems (EPS). This includes a DC fast-charging system that will take 20 minutes to recharge batteries installed in a belly pod and between the motor and the forward bulkhead.
According to Diamond, the four-seat aircraft will be able to fly for up to 90 minutes and will deliver a 40 percent reduction in operating costs compared with similar-sized piston-powered models. The eDA40 will compete with Bye Aerospace’s new all-electric eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 aircraft, which have been securing significant preorders in the flight training market.
Diamond has been working on electric and hybrid-electric propulsion since 2011. That year, it introduced the DA36 E-Star aircraft with a hybrid-electric propulsion system provided by Germany’s Siemens. In 2013, it introduced the E-Star 2 model, which had increased performance and payload. The two companies also developed the HEMEP hybrid-electric multi-engine system. Rolls-Royce acquired the group's electric propulsion business in 2019.
EPS is backed by Boeing and Safran, which made substantial investments in the company in 2019. It has provided propulsion systems for technology demonstrators such as Bell’s Nexus eVTOL aircraft and the NASA X-57 fixed-wing model.
“Training aircraft set the stage for demonstrating that electric aircraft can meet the demands of high-paced, high-volume operations at a reduced cost basis,” said Nathan Millecam, chief executive of EPS. “Combining EPS’s battery and electric propulsion know-how with a globally recognized leader in advanced general aviation design and manufacturing enables the eDA40 to be one of the most notable electric aircraft projects in the world.”
According to Liqun Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Austria, the eDA40 will be the first EASA/FAA Part 23 certified electric airplane that offers DC fast charging and is tailored to the flight training market. The company, which has a Canada-based subsidiary, produces single- and twin-engined aircraft for applications that also include private transportation, leisure flying, and special missions.
The avionics suite for the eDA40 will be equipped with Garmin’s G1000 NXi glass cockpit system.