VoltAero announced today that it had flown their electric-hybrid powertrain test bed with 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
According to VoltAero, it marks the first time an aircraft with an electric-hybrid powertrain has been fueled by 100% SAF. Previous flights have used a SAF/conventional fuel blend.
Conducted from VoltAero’s development facility at Royan, France, the flight used the hybrid powertrain’s electric mode and its internal combustion engine, which was fueled by TotalEnergies’ Excellium Racing 100, made from bioethanol produced from waste from French vineyards.
“Based on initial results, we calculated a truly impressive CO2 reduction of approximately 80 percent while operating the Cassio powertrain in its electric-hybrid mode and with the internal combustion engine fueled by TotalEnergies’ Excellium Racing 100,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technology Officer.
“It underscores the opportunity for production Cassio aircraft to represent a major step closer to aviation’s decarbonisation goals by replacing standard avgas 100 high-octane fuel for aviation piston engines.”
The production plans for the Cassio envisage a very different design from the test bed, which is a modified C337.
Cassio aircraft will use an electric, aft-mounted motor for all-electric power during taxi, take-off, primary flight (if the distance traveled is less than 80 nm), and landing. The hybrid feature–with an internal combustion engine–comes into play as a range extender, recharging the batteries while in flight.
Additionally, this hybrid element serves as a back-up 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 kW.
It is to be followed by the six-seat Cassio 480 with a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kW, and the Cassio 600 – a 10-12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kW.