EVTOL Manufacturers May Face Battery Acquisition Issues Written 4 February 2020


EHang 184 | Associated Press-©

Aviation Today reports on a presentation given by BAE Systems Systems Engineering Manager Robert Hess at the Transformative Vertical Flight 2020 conference hosted by the Vertical Flight Society. Hess’ presentation noted that “designers and manufacturers of electric air taxis may run into issues sourcing the batteries they want at reasonable prices.” Hess “explained to Avionics International” that “while significant advancements continue to be made in lithium-ion battery power, storage density and cycle life, battery cells ideal for electric cars and most other common applications don’t match the usage profile of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.” He said, “The biggest issue car operators have is range anxiety … aerospace wants a very high power and lots of utilization, and passenger cars really look for much lower power levels and much lower utilization.” Given their different needs, eVTOL companies “are likely to face difficulties and drastically higher prices than automakers when searching for battery suppliers.” However, “there is one current application of electric batteries that closely matches what eVTOL aircraft are likely to need: electric transit vehicles.” Regarding broader supply chain concerns, Wright Electric CEO Jeff Engler agreed with Hess and said, “Across the supplier chain, from batteries to motors and inverters, there are not a lot of people doing this, and so you really have to pick your suppliers well and understand that if you want to get into this space you ultimately have to become more vertically integrated than if you’re in a more mature industry.”
Full Story (Aviation Today)