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Rolls-Royce to Exit Electric, Hydrogen Pursuits
  • 21 Dec 2023 12:55 AM
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Rolls-Royce to Exit Electric, Hydrogen Pursuits

Rolls-Royce announced on Nov. 28 that it would sell its business unit responsible for developing engines for electric-powered aircraft. The sale of Rolls-Royce Electrical, a unit comprised of Rolls-Royce’s 2019 acquisition of Siemens eAircraft and of its pre-existing Electrical team, is part of an effort by the company to raise £1.5B ($1.1B) and comes as CEO Tufan Erginbilgic revealed plans to quadruple profits. Erginbilgic told staff in January 2023, shortly after taking over, that the company was a “burning platform” and that transforming was the company’s “last chance” to survive after the COVID-19 pandemic devastated civil air travel, with a 20% reduction in staff. More job cuts were announced in October. Additionally, Erginbilgic expressed doubt that hydrogen-based propulsion solutions were a viable means of meeting its climate goals, telling Bloomberg on Nov. 28 that he did not expect that hydrogen would play a significant role in aviation in the next 20 years. Still, in a separate statement to Bloomberg, a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said that the company remains committed to its partnership with discount carrier EasyJet to develop hydrogen-based solutions and that it planned to “take this technology to flight test in the long term.”

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