The Brazilian aerospace company Embraer announced that it has successfully conducted the first test flight of an electric-powered EMB-203 Ipanema. Developed to evaluate new technologies and solutions that enable 100% electric and more sustainable aeronautical propulsion, the electric demonstrator aircraft conducts tests at Embraer’s facility in Gavião Peixoto, in São Paulo, Brazil.
In 2019, Embraer signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement with WEG, under which they agreed to jointly develop new technologies and solutions to enable electric propulsion in aircraft. Prior to this flight, an agreement had already been concluded with the Portuguese-Brazilian energy company EDP to jointly investigate the possibilities of electric flying.
“Power, performance, control, thermal management, and operation safety were the primary features evaluated in these manned first flights,” Embraer says. “The goal is to demonstrate real flight conditions through results obtained from computational simulations, lab tests, and ground integration of technology, which have taken place since the second half of 2019.”
The knowledge acquired on the electric demonstrator aircraft tests will allow Embraer to develop new and innovative products in line with the company’s continuous search for a sustainable future.
The developers did not disclose technical details about the electric version of the aircraft. It is only known that it uses an electric powertrain system from WEG, and EDP’s Smart Division would take care of the energy storage and battery charging technologies for the EMB-203 project. In 2004, it became the world’s first aircraft certified and produced in series to fly on fuel from a renewable source (ethanol).