Monday, June 17, 2024

Safran’s smart motor to power VoltAero’s electric-hybrid aircraft prototype

n aviation startup company, VoltAero, has selected Safran Electrical & Power’s ENGINeUS 100 smart electric motor to equip the Cassio 330 electric-hybrid prototype aircraft, with the agreement for its supply signed at the UK’s Farnborough International Airshow.

VoltAero already has gained significant experience with ENGINeUS motors, having logged more than 10,000 km, since 2019, during flights with its Cassio 1 testbed aircraft, claiming to be the world’s first parallel hybrid aircraft. From the beginning, the Cassio prototype was powered by Safran’s ENGINeUS smart electric motors. Initially, the aircraft incorporated two ENGINeUS 45 versions (rated at 45 kW continuous power) installed on the wings.

The upcoming Cassio 330 aircraft will be equipped with the more powerful ENGINeUS 100. The electric motor will have a maximum rating of more than 150 kW at takeoff and is to be integrated along with a 150 kW thermal engine in VoltAero’s proprietary hybrid propulsion unit on the Cassio 330. The smart motor also includes an integrated motor controller and an optimized air-cooling system for thermal management.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Safran Electrical & Power will deliver an ENGINeUS 100 motor before the year-end of ground-based endurance testing of the electric-hybrid propulsion system. The supply of a flight-qualified ENGINeUS 100 will follow in 2023, enabling the startup of flight testing with the Cassio 330 prototype. Certification of the electric motor is scheduled for mid-2023.

VoltAero will produce Cassio airplanes in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. The first one to be certified is the Cassio 330, with the capacity of four/five seats and powered by the 330-kW electric-hybrid propulsion system. The follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kW, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 10/12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kW.

The electric hybrid propulsion system will be installed in the Cassio’s aft fuselage, driving a pusher propeller. VoltAero’s design for the Cassio aircraft family is based on a sleek, aerodynamically optimized fuselage, a forward canard, and an aft-set wing with twin booms that support a high-set horizontal tail.