Electric Power Systems is set to supply the first of its Epic energy storage systems for the prototype of VoltAero’s Cassio 330 hybrid-electric STOL aircraft. Under an agreement announced by the companies on January 27, the first unit will be delivered by the end of June to be integrated into the French start-up’s four-seat model, which will operate with a combined hybrid-electric power output of 330 kW.
The production versions of the Cassio will be powered by three of Safran’s 60-kW Engineus 45 electric motors and a 370-hp internal combustion engine, collectively driving a five-bladed pusher propeller. The first Cassio 330 model is due to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2023, and VoltAero is planning for production rates of up to 150 aircraft per year.
According to the Utah-based powertrain specialist, its Epic system incorporates power cell technology that offers an energy density of more than 200 Wh/kg in its battery packs. The equipment, which can be scaled in capacity with modular units to support various sizes of aircraft, can run more than 2,000 fast-charge cycles before having to be replaced.
The Cassio 330 is the smaller of three fixed-wing aircraft that VoltAero is developing. The six-seat Cassio 480 will have 480 kW of power, while the 10-seat Cassio 600 will have 600 kW.
The company, which was founded by former Airbus chief technical officer Jean Botti, has already flown its Cassio 1 technology demonstrator almost 5,300 miles on what it says are typical air taxi routes within Europe. These flights used the same hybrid-electric powertrain that will now be fitted for the Cassio production aircraft, which are to be manufactured in a purpose-built factory at Rochefort Airport in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Airframe and aerostructures manufacturer Sonaca Aircraft is conducting engineering design for the Cassio airframes and will supply these for series production aircraft.