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Video - Airbus A350 to be equipped with lithium-ion batteries in 2016

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On 13th January, Didier Evrard, Head of Programmes at Airbus, confirmed that the Airbus A350, like its Boeing 787 rival, will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries.

Originally, the new Airbus long-haul was to have been equipped with the higher performance batteries, but due to overheating of those of the Dreamliner, the European aircraft manufacturer finally had to rethink seriously in 2013.

Didier Evrard, Head of Programmes - Airbus

"We were at a point where we could not afford to risk the least battery related delays, and so as a precaution, we decided at that time to equip the aircraft put into service with traditional batteries."

More specifically in other words, nickel-cadmium batteries, batteries that have had a proven track record in aviation over the last 50 years, however, for the same performance, lithium-ion batteries have the advantage of being lighter. These new generation of batteries are manufactured by the French company Saft, world leader in the field, and with their help, in their search for superfluous weight, Airbus intends to reduce the weight of its A350’s by 80 kilogrammes (176 lbs.), equivalent to that of one passenger.

Didier Evrard, Head of Programmes - Airbus

"The certification of the system is underway and will be completed this year. EASA and the FAA are well aware of the work we have done, and I have to say that we have had very, very few changes to make. We have deviated neither from our principles, nor in the construction of the battery, from the beginning."

Since the outset, each of the four test A350’s have in any case been equipped with four lithium-ion batteries, and during the more than 2,000 flying hours no incidents have been recorded. From 2016, Airbus intends to equip all its production A350’s with these new-generation batteries.

Until then, long-haul operators’ aircraft will be provided with nickel-cadmium batteries, the only ones certified at present on the A350 XWB; however, when the time comes, they will be able to change over to lithium-ion on the occasion of a maintenance check.

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