Vertical Aerospace has partnered with E-One Moli Energy Corp (aka Molicel) to provide high-performance battery cells for its upcoming VX4 eVTOL aircraft. Molicel is an industry leader in high-power lithium-ion cells, already with clients such as NASA and Williams Advanced Engineering.
Above: Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL, expected to achieve certification by 2024
Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL aircraft has been in development for several years, and is now one of top eVTOL vehicles on the market nearing certification alongside experts like Joby Aviation, Lilium, and Beta Technologies. It features semi-autonomous capabilities, an all-electric range of over 100 miles, and room for four passengers plus a pilot. The company recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange, and has received valuations upwards of $1 billion USD.
Now, Vertical Aerospace has taken another major developmental step by choosing Molicel to supply high power cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells for the production version of the VX4. The batteries from Molicel will combine Molicel’s cell technology with Vertical’s proprietary battery pack design, and will be used in the VX4 through to certification and entry into service. In particular, Molicel specializes in high-powered cells, low impedance,
fast charging, and high-performance applications, making them an excellent partner for Vertical Aerospace.
According to a recent press release, Vertical reviewed the capabilities of dozens of cell manufacturers before selecting Molicel as its battery partner, as it believes Molicel is uniquely placed to meet the performance and safety requirements of the VX4 and to continue to deliver innovation and improved performance over time.
Above: An example of the eVTOL battery pack by Vertical Aerospace that utilizes Molicel battery cells
Molicel has over 40 years’ experience in energy research and development, and will now form a working group with Vertical Aerospace to ensure the resulting battery system is safe, reliable, economical, and ready to meet every need of the VX4 aircraft. The new system will be certified concurrently with the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Casey Shiue, President of Molicel, said: “We have long been known as the pioneers of high power, low impedance, fast charge battery cell technology and have vast experience across a range of applications. We are on a mission to produce outstanding cells to drive the electric evolution and are very excited to enter this strategic partnership with Vertical Aerospace. We work with some of the best engineers in the world and have been immensely impressed by Vertical’s technical and engineering pedigree. We see our technology is a key enabler of safe and efficient flight, and we look forward to working with Vertical Aerospace to bring their revolutionary VX4 aircraft to the skies.”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder & CEO of Vertical Aerospace commented: “The future of electric aviation is dependent on safe, high-performance battery systems and fundamental to this is the battery cells themselves. That’s why I am delighted to be partnering with Molicel, producer of the world’s highest power cells. Molicel has a rich history of innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in energy storage. We see many similarities between ourselves and Molicel and we couldn’t think of a better partner to bring the VX4 to market.”
Above: Leaders at Vertical Aerospace and Molicel with the VX4 eVTOL aircraft behind them
Why it’s important: As eVTOL developers are nearing commercial readiness, many are forming partnerships that will supply components for the final mass-produced versions of their aircraft. With these companies closer to commercial operations than ever before, followers can note which kind of companies are being selected to be part of this rapidly expanding industry.
Source // Molicel, Vertical Aerospace
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- Vertical Aerospace reveals full-scale eVTOL aircraft ahead of SPAC merger (December 2021)
- Vertical Aerospace & Heathrow Airport to collaborate on future of urban air mobility (November 2021)
- Bristow Group orders up to 150 eVTOL Aircraft from EmbraerX and Vertical Aerospace (September 2021)