Boeing’s ongoing problems with the batteries in its Dreamliner passenger jet can be traced back to Alan Mullaly, who used to run Boeing Commercial aeroplanes and is now the CEO of Ford, an executive at rival Airbus says.Mulally was at Boeing for the launch of the Dreamliner, but left in 2006 for Ford, while the jet was being developed, according to Flightglobal.
In an interview with Airline Business, Airbus chief salesman John Leahy said that Mulally was so concerned with producing a “game-changing” product, he pushed Boeing into creating a plane that would be costly to develop and difficult to make safe:
I think Alan Mulally wanted to be gamechanging. So ‘job one’, as he would say at Ford, was ‘everything on this aeroplane is going to be game-changing’…
We don’t think having an aeroplane flying at 41,000ft, in minus 60 degree outside temperature, should be heated electronically. We’ve got sources of power called the engines that aren’t using all their power, and you can use some of that to pressurize and heat the cabin, to deice the aeroplane.
To deliver improved fuel economy, a key upside of the 787, Boeing uses a powerful lithium ion battery and five times more electricity and electrical systems than other jets. Battery malfunctions caused two fires onboard Dreamliners in January, and the planes have been grounded for more than a month.
Airbus was planning to use a lithium ion battery in the A350 XWB, its Dreamliner competitor, but without using the all-electric architecture that’s in the 787. Last week, it announced it would use more proven nickel cadmium batteries instead.