VoltAero has received a €5.6 million grant (US$6 million) from the French Government to help develop and certify its Cassio 330 electric-hybrid aircraft.
The Cassio 330 is the first of three electric-hybrid aircraft VoltAero is developing aimed at regional commercial operators, air taxi / charter companies, private owners, cargo and logistics and medical evacuation (Medevac) applications.
The five-seat Cassio 330 will have a maximum range of 1,200km (745 miles) and a maximum cruise speed of 333km/h (200mph). VoltAero, which was founded in 2017 has been flight testing a demonstrator testbed, a modified Cessna 337 Skymaster since March 2020. The Cassio 330’s entry into service is planned for the end of 2024.
“This grant is another important vote of confidence in VoltAero and our vision to develop the family of Cassio electric-hybrid general aviation airplanes for safe, quiet, efficient and eco-friendly flight,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technical officer. “It contributes to the Cassio 330’s development, certification and production.”
Cassio aircraft will use electric motors in the aft fuselage-mounted propulsion system for all-electric power during taxi, takeoff and primary flight – if the distance traveled is less than 150 km – and landing.
In hybrid mode an internal combustion engine extends the range and recharges the batteries while in flight. The hybrid element also serves as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion.
The five-seat Cassio 330 will use a 330-kilowatt electric-hybrid propulsion system. The planned subsequent aircraft, which will share systems and components with the 330 will increase in power and passenger capacity – the Cassio 480 will use a 480kW powertrain and have six seats and the Cassio 600 will have a 12-seat capacity.
VoltAero is headquartered at the Aérodrome de Royan-Médis in southwest France. The Cassio aircraft are to undergo final assembly in a purpose-built facility at the Rochefort Charente-Maritime Airport in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
The latest grant was made available through the “France 2030” investment plan which aims to sustainably transform the country’s economy. The company has also private investment and has gone through two funding rounds, most recently in May this year.