UK-based eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace has selected Molicel to provide high-performance batteries for its VX4 eVTOL aircraft.
The Vx4 is a four passenger, 100 mile (160km) range eVTOL aircraft, the first test flight of which is expected later this year. Vertical already flown two full-scale prototypes since it was founded in 2016 and the aircraft is planned to enter service in 2025. The firm says it has more than 1,350 aircraft on order, worth US$5.4 billion.
Molicel is a Taiwan-based supplier of high-power lithium-ion cell batteries that counts NASA and Williams Advanced Engineering amongst its clients. The strategic partnership will will supply the company supply its cylindrical cells for proprietary battery pack design for the VX4.
The companies have established a joint working group to ensure the battery cells result in a system for the VX4 that is a safe, reliable and high-performance. The battery system will be certified concurrently with the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with Vertical targeting 2025 for entry into service.
In addition to their existing production annual capacity (1.6GWh), in Taipei, Molicel will open their second Gigafactory in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2023 (2GWh). The new factory will enable the company to meet demand and ensure the cells it produces meet aerospace standards, the company said.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace said, “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.”
Dr Limhi Somerville, head of battery at Vertical Aerospace said. “Through years of development their low resistance, high-power cells give us additional weight saving, charging and safety opportunities for the VX4 with minimal compromise to energy and lifetime.”
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.”