Airbus Nixes Lithium-Ion Batteries for Latest Plane

Concerns over Boeing 787 lead Airbus to scrap controversial battery

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 15, 2013 9:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Airbus abandoned its plans to use lithium-ion batteries for its new A350 airplanes due to the uncertainty surrounding the technology following the grounding of Boeing's 787, the company said. The European aerospace group said yesterday it would revert to conventional nickel-cadmium batteries for the A350. The plane is a wide-body long-range jet rival to the 787 and is expected to make its first flight around the middle of the year. Airbus says it does not expect the battery switch to delay the A350's schedule.

Lithium batteries are lighter and can store more energy than other types of batteries of an equivalent size, and manufacturers view them as an important way to save on fuel costs. But the batteries are also more likely to short circuit and start a fire than other batteries if they are damaged, if there is a manufacturing flaw, or if they are exposed to excessive heat. "Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 XWB reliability," said a rep. Click for more on the hidden danger of lithium batteries.

In this computer generated image released Tuesday June 16, 2009 by Airbus, an Airbus A350-900 bearing the Air Asia livery is seen.   (AP Photo/Airbus/HO)
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