Wanfeng, the Chinese holding company that owns Diamond Aircraft, has agreed to develop electric aviation technology with the Wolong Electric Drive Group, which until now has been mainly focused on the automotive sector. In an agreement signed in Wangfeng Aviation Town on December 2, the companies said they would focus on developments including the use of magnesium alloy in motors for aircraft and other applications.
Hangzhou-based Wanfeng Aviation, which is part of the Wanfeng Auto Holding Group, acquired Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries in December 2017. Just 12 months earlier it had purchased a 60 percent stake in the company’s Canadian manufacturing.
The deal also included rights to manufacture the seven-passenger DA62 twin-engined aircraft and the four-passenger DA40 single-engined model. The purchase also included diesel engine manufacturer Austro Engine.
Wanfeng Aviation includes a Part 135 charter flight operation, an aircraft management service, and a Part 145 maintenance facility. The company operates an Embraer Phenom 100E business jet and also a larger Bombardier Challenger 605.
In late 2017, Wanfeng chairman Bin Chen, who is now chairman of Diamond Aircraft, announced the company would expand operations into aircraft manufacturing, airport management, flight training, and other general aviation operations.
In addition to the DA62 and DA40 models, the company also produced the two-seat DA20 Katana training aircraft, the DA42-IV Twin Star four-seater, and the DART 450/550 military single-engine turboprop.
The partners did not say whether the new electric motors they intend to develop would be used for any of Diamond's existing aircraft. There was also no indication as to whether Austro Engine would be involved in any plans to offer new motors to other aircraft manufacturers or developers.