VoltAero has flown the electric-hybrid powertrain for its forthcoming Cassio aircraft with 100% SAF.
The flight was conducted by VoltAero’s Cassio S testbed from the company’s facility at Royan, France. During the flight, the aircraft’s hybrid powertrain’s electric mode and its internal combustion engine — fueled by SAF supplied by TotalEnergies — were used.
This test flight validated VoltAero’s proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain and its suitability to be used with sustainable fuels.
Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technology officer said, “Based on initial results, we calculated a truly impressive CO2 reduction of approximately 80% while operating the Cassio powertrain in its electric-hybrid mode and with the internal combustion engine fueled by TotalEnergies’ Excellium Racing 100.
“It underscores the opportunity for production Cassio aircraft to represent a major step closer to aviation’s decarbonization goals by replacing standard Avgas 100 high-octane fuel.”
VoltAero plans to start building its first production aircraft, the five-seat Cassio 330 at the end of this year. The Cassio 330 will have a maximum range of 1,200km (745 miles) and a maximum cruise speed of 333km/h (200mph) and is expected to enter service at the end of 2024.
VoltAero, which was founded in 2017 has been flight testing its Cassio S testbed, a modified Cessna 337 Skymaster since March 2020.
VoltAero’s Cassio family of aircraft is being developed for regional commercial operators, air taxi/charter companies, private owners, as well as in utility-category service for cargo, postal delivery and medical evacuation (Medevac) applications.
Cassio aircraft will use its electric propulsion system during taxi, takeoff, primary flight if the distance traveled is less than 150km (90 miles) and landing. The internal combustion engine will be used in hybrid mode as a range extender, to recharge the batteries and as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion.
VoltAero’s first production aircraft will be the Cassio 330, with a four/five-seat interior configuration and operating on a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 330 kilowatts. It is to be followed by the six-seat Cassio 480 with a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, and the Cassio 600 – sized at a 10/12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.