An electric airplane build by Siemens recently set two new world records for battery-powered aircraft by reaching a top speed of about 210 miles per hour. It also became the first electric plane to tow a glider into the sky. The Siemens Extra 330LE prototype plane overcomes one of the key barriers to electricity-powered flight, the weight of the batteries and associated energy density. According to Electrek, Siemens has put a lot of work into the energy density of electric motors, and as a result the 330LE delivers a power output of 260 kilowatts with a weight of just 110 pounds. The end goal of Siemens’ work on this prototype is to produce airlines for regional travel that are powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system—a project it’s working on in concert with Airbus, which is working on its own E-Fan electric plane concept. Check out the cool video below.

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As Clean Technica notes, the two records the plane set on March 23, 2017 at Germany’s Dinslaken Schwarze Heide Airfield include a top speed record of 337.50 kilometers per hour (over a distance of 3 kilometers, for an electric aircraft with a takeoff weight of less than 1,000 kilograms); and a top speed record of 342.86 kilometers per hour for an electric aircraft with a takeoff weight of over 1,000 kilograms. The latter record was achieved by tweaking the craft so it was a bit heavier. Pilot, Walter Extra broke the previous record – set by the American pilot William M. Yates in 2013 – by one minute and 10 seconds.

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riday, March 24, 2017 at the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany: the Extra 330LE powered by the record-propulsion system from Siemens became the world's first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky. The nearly silent aerotow piloted by Walter Extra took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.

The plane also brought a glider to a height of 600 meters (about 2,000 feet) in just 76 seconds. “This aerotow provides further, highly visible evidence of our record-setting motor’s performance capabilities,” said Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at the Siemens venture capital unit next47. “Just six such propulsion units would be sufficient to power a typical 19-seat hybrid-electric airplane.”

Via Electrek and Clean Technica

Images via Siemens, Copyright: Jean-Marie Urlacher