With the newest smart electric motors from Safran, the electric Voltaero Cassio has taken flight.
The Voltaero Cassio, developed by former Airbus CTO Jean Botti, is a hybrid-electric, high-range airplane, built to bring cleaner energy to regional commercial flights, private aircraft ownership, and more. The hybrid system utilized by Voltaero gives the Cassio the utmost safety, the lowest noise emissions, and highest fuel efficiency among any existing aircraft of its class. The new company formed by Botti aspires to eventually create 150 five-to-nine passenger aircraft each year.
Voltaero entered the latest testing phase of the Cassio last July, when it first partnered with Safran to begin development of the prototype. The company has been working on the Cassio since its founding in 2018, and deliveries of production aircraft are expected to begin as early as 2021.
The latest set of testing marks an important milestone for Voltaero, as it proves the viability of the hybrid-electric powertrain. Said Voltaero founder and CEO Jean Botti: “I am very pleased with the testing as we accumulate time aloft and open up the aircraft’s flight envelope. The current test phase is with the powertrain for our six-seat Cassio version, to be followed by validation of the final aerodynamic and powertrain configurations on both the four- and nine-seat Cassio versions.”
Said Technical Director Didier Esteyne, who piloted the test aircraft, “Flying on the power of Safran’s ENGINeUSTM motors is truly remarkable, with no vibration and extremely low noise levels. It confirms that our Cassio aircraft will bring an entirely new experience to aviation.”
Why it’s Important: With this latest breakthrough for Voltaero, an enormous step has been taken forward for the era of sustained electric flight. While eVTOLs do not generally use hybrid systems as does the Voltaero Cassio, development of hybrid-electric airplanes that can travel for extended periods of time contribute greatly to the potential for all electric aircraft. Notably, Safran is also developing electric motors specifically built for eVTOL applications, extending its expertise in electric propulsion for aviation.
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