19 May 2022

Electric-parallel hybrid propulsion unit achieves new milestone

The Cassio 1 testbed with VoltAero’s electric-parallel hybrid propulsion unit

Voltaero’s Cassio 1, equipped with the 600-kilowatt full-power version of Voltaero’s electric-parallel hybrid propulsion unit for the company’s in-development family of Cassio sustainable airplanes, left the company’s headquarters on France’s Atlantic Coast on 25th April 2022 for the 1,650-kilometre cross-European roundtrip to Friedrichshafen, where the demonstrator was exhibited at the four-day AERO Friedrichshafen event that began on April 27. This achieved a new milestone by surpassing the total distance flown of 10,000 kilometres.

Since Voltaero initiated flights with the propulsion unit in 2020, Cassio 1 has flown more than 8,500 kilometres on routes within Europe and to the UK, de-risking it for airworthiness certification on production Cassio aircraft.

During these extensive tests, Cassio 1 performed typical regional short and medium-haul flights that will be served by Voltaero’s product line of four-to-12-seat Cassio airplanes. Operating in a full range of weather conditions, Cassio 1 visited both local and regional airports that will benefit from highly sustainable air mobility.

With Voltaero’s proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain installed in the aft pusher position, Cassio aircraft will utilise the propulsion system’s electric motors for all-electric power during taxi, take off, primary flight, and landing. The hybrid feature (with an internal combustion engine) comes into play as a range extender, recharging the batteries while in flight. Additionally, this hybrid element serves as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion, ensuring true fail-safe functionality.

The Cassio family will be able to provide a highly capable, reliable and sustainable product line for commercial flights, air taxi/charter companies, private owners, as well as in utility-category    service for cargo, postal delivery and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) applications.

Production Cassio airplanes will be built in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. First to be certified is the Cassio 330, with four/five seats and powered by a 330-kilowatt electric-hybrid power module. The follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have an electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 10/12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.

VoltAero will be assembling the prototype Cassio 330 before year-end, with the production aircraft to be produced in a purpose-built final assembly facility at Rochefort Airport in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Groundbreaking at the industrial site is scheduled in the summer of 2022.

Company info: VoltAero