Volocopter and Safran Electrical & Power announced on June 22nd at the 2023 Paris Air Show that they have signed an agreement signifying their intention to collaborate on developing a next generation powertrain for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The agreement will see the two companies collaborate on the exploration of commercial and engineering partnerships, specifically focused on the entire electric powertrain, ranging from the electrical propulsion system (EPS), battery units, to power distribution system to wider engineering services.
Volocopter’s position on aerial mobility is commonly known among those in the aerial mobility industry: that eVTOLs are the next frontier of electric aviation. This emerging industry supplements existing public transportation networks in urban areas with sustainable, battery-powered aircraft offering a safe and quiet mode of transportation. The partners bring together decades of expertise in aircraft development which now is applied to the novel eVTOL and EPS space.
Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran, said of the announced partnership: “Volocopter is pioneering Urban Air Mobility. With a feasible design and a clear ambition to start operations as soon as next summer in Paris, we would be proud to partner with them for their future development in this highly promising new branch of the aviation industry. Safran has always kept up with the times and pushed innovation to decarbonize aviation.”
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter, added: “The prospect of collaborating with Safran, a leader in powertrain development as part of our UAM-ecosystem is exciting on several levels. Optimizing battery density and improving EPS effectiveness is the biggest performance lever for lightweight aircraft like eVTOLs. And on a personal note, it’s a stellar example of French German industry collaboration to keep European technology innovation competitive on a global level.”
Why it’s important: Volocopter and Safran will be able to leverage one another’s resources with this recent announcement which should allow for more progress on advanced electric powertrains for future eVTOL configurations. Interestingly, this landmark agreement sees Volocopter potentially outsourcing a portion of their development efforts in the hopes that their investment in collaboration with Safran and their openness of sharing their eVTOL design traits will yield an even better product in the longer run.