On Monday (Sept. 13), VoltAero’s Cassio 1 demonstrator hybrid-electric aircraft made its first English Channel crossing, and is participating in this week’s ACE21 Air Charter Expo at London Biggin Hill Airport. VoltAero CEO and Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti is participating in the expo’s Green Charter 2021 panel discussion.
The Cassio 1 flight originated at Calais in northern France. VoltAero’s facility is 500 miles south in Medis, southern France. The aircraft made a stop at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, U.K., for inspection by engineering students and faculty before continuing on to Biggin Hill for the expo.
In 2015, VoltAero’s E-Fan aircraft, developed as part of an Airbus-led program, made what the company says is the “first end-to-end English Channel crossing with an electric airplane.” While the E-Fan’s batteries provided 60 kilowatts for its two all-electric motors, the Cassio 1 is powered by VoltAero’s 600-kilowatt electric-hybrid “power module,” which combines electric power with an internal combustion engine. “In providing dual sources of energy, the electric-hybrid power module is reported to provide highly safe and efficient operations by using one source of power—electrical or mechanical, or both—depending on the flight scenario,” according to VoltAero. The idea is to take off “nearly silently” on electric power, then use the internal combustion engine for en route cruise while charging the batteries—and serving as backup power.
VoltAero anticipates its four-seat Cassio 330 will be its first production aircraft with 330 kilowatts of hybrid-electric power. Service entry is targeted for the second half of 2023. The follow-on six-seat and 10-seat Cassio 480 and 600 (respectively) are expected to generate 480 and 600 kilowatts.