If a company stops working on the demonstrator aircraft project, you would hear a lot of reasons for this. The reason to stop such a project could be increasing costs, change in priorities, change in the market, or lack of fundamental technology.
But, things with Rolls-Royce are different, and even though the project to provide hybrid-electric propulsion was dropped due to rising costs. The architecture they have created for this product could be turned into a big thing in the future.
One of the key members of the company’s team, Paul Stein said that they planned several trails for the E-Fan X, but it was not feasible on the ground. He also said that the decision of cancelling the project was made by both parties. Both parties agreed, but the partners were insisting more on the point that the market is suffering from a difficult period and we have already learned enough. So, even if they have carried on with this project, it wouldn’t have helped them more, and given the crisis, it could have been harmful to both parties.
Both parties also agree that the flight-test could have given motivation to future engineers. Even though both companies wanted to go through with this amazing experience, the expenses involved served as a barrier.
Paul Stein says, if we have taken it to the flight-test, we wouldn’t have gain more than what it would have cost. It would cost tens of millions and they decided not to spend that much money, especially, in this crisis time.
Following the E-Fan X program, the plan was to introduce 2MW electric motor, in place of RJ100’s four Honeywell turbofan engine. Rolls-Royce was providing the generator, a distribution system, and thermal management systems. The company has continued developing these parts and is planning to develop an integrated system and test it in late 2020.
Stein said that we understand that the trials alone are not enough to deploy the system, but these tests can help them find and correct the errors in the technology. So, when they have developed an error-free technology, it can be deployed in a prototype easily.