18-Feb-2013 8:02 AM

Airbus moves away from lithium ion technology for A350 XWB batteries

Airbus announced (15-Feb-2013) it will revert to nickel cadmium technology for the A350 XWB. The company stated it is confident the lithium ion (Li-ion) main battery architecture it has been developing with Saft and qualifying for the A350 XWB aircraft is robust and safe. The A350 XWB flight test programme will continue as planned with the qualified Li-ion main batteries. However, to date, the root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents remain unexplained to the best of the company's knowledge. In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of programme certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its “Plan B” and therefore to revert to the "proven and mastered" nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350 XWB programme at entry into service (EIS). Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of programme execution and A350 XWB reliability. In parallel, Airbus has also launched additional maturity studies on Li-ion main batteries behaviour in aerospace operations and will naturally take on board the findings of the ongoing official investigation. Airbus does not expect the decision to impact the A350 XWB entry into service schedule. [more - original PR]

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