At Euronaval on 23 October, BAE Systems announced a £3.5 million (€3.95 million) commitment to the development of greener, safer, rechargeable electric propulsion systems. The investment will fund a new test and integration laboratory at the company’s site in Portsmouth, UK.
The research builds on the advances seen in electric cars and could signal a new generation of propulsion systems for a broad range of defence applications.
“Our aim is to develop the next generation electric propulsion system which will be cleaner, greener, safer, more powerful, longer lasting, rechargeable and, in some cases, even able to operate underwater,” commented BAE Systems Project Manager, Clare Gribby. “We’ve already invested around £1m in concept and design work and will be moving towards the build and integration phase of a demonstrator in early 2019 […] The demonstrator is due to be up and running by September 2020.”
The company is already working closely with a number of small, highly specialised companies in the UK and Europe to develop the project. It is also drawing on the expertise of BAE Systems colleagues in Rochester, UK, who produce electric drive systems for hybrid buses in a number of major metropolitan cities around the world, including London, Paris and Hong Kong.