The EcoPulse, a hybrid-electric technology demonstrator jointly developed by Daher, Safran, and Airbus made its public debut this week at the Paris Airshow. Having completed the first flight tests in 2022 using a conventional thermal engine, the EcoPulse team is now working to integrate the hybrid-electric propulsion system and plans to fly the converted aircraft for the first time this summer.
Using a Daher TBM 900 single-engine turboprop converted with a hybrid-electric powertrain, the EcoPulse project intends to evaluate the advantages of a hybrid-electric distributed propulsion system, such as increased efficiency and the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions and noise pollution.
Airbus holds responsibility for optimizing the aerodynamics and the battery system while Safran develops the hybrid-propulsion system, which consists of six integrated electric thrusters distributed across the wing.
According to Daher, the EcoPulse team recently completed initial ground testing of the new propulsion system, validating its aerodynamics and systems configuration. In March, the hybrid-electric EcoPulse logged 10 flight hours with two of its six motors installed and subsequently flew with a four-motor configuration in April. Now the team has completed the installation of all six motors ahead of the aircraft’s debut at the show.
“The demonstrator has so far amassed around 27 hours of flight time with the electric propellers feathered,” said Daher chief technology officer Pascal Laguerre. “From this demonstration program, we plan to develop our future product roadmap and basically spec the hybrid aircraft we intend to produce by the end of our five-year plan. We expect by the end of 2027 to be able to offer our first hybrid aircraft to the market.”