Airbus to Drop Lithium-Ion Batteries in A350
Airbus announced that it would change plans and not use lithium-ion batteries in its forthcoming A350 airplane. The move follows weeks of uncertainty during which Boeing 787 Dreamliners have remained grounded after the batteries apparently caused fires in the aircraft.
The A350 is a wide-body long-range jet capable of seating between 250 to 350 passengers. It will compete with the 787 when it arrives at airlines next year.
Federal regulators grounded the Boeing 787 on January 16 after the second of two fires occurred. The fires were later traced back to the lithium-ion batteries although the root cause has yet to be determined.
Airbus will replace the lithium-ion batteries with more conventional nickel-cadmium batteries. The European-based aircraft maker does not expect the change in battery technology to impact the A350’s delivery schedule.
The A350 and 787 are designed to use lithium-ion batteries differently and many believe that the problems that have beset the 787 would not necessarily impact the A350. Nonetheless, Airbus didn’t wish to risk running into a ban on the technology while the Dreamliner problem is being sorted out.