Volocopter and Safran to Collaborate on Next-Gen Electric Powertrain

Catch up on the latest updates from Volocopter, including an agreement with Safran Electrical & Power, a recent series of flight tests conducted in Saudi Arabia, and plans for vertiport construction in Paris. (Photos: Volocopter)

Volocopter signed an agreement with Safran Electrical & Power last week that includes plans for developing a next-generation electric powertrain. The powertrain will be designed specifically for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft like those under development by Volocopter.

“The agreement covers the exploration of commercial and engineering partnerships, specifically around the entire electric powertrain ranging from the electrical propulsion system (EPS), battery units, and power distribution system to wider engineering services,” according to the announcement.

Pictured above: Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran (right), and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter (left)

Dirk Hoke, Volocopter’s CEO, commented on the potential collaboration with Safran. “Optimizing battery density and improving EPS effectiveness is the biggest performance lever for lightweight aircraft like eVTOLs,” Hoke stated.

Last week, Volocopter also announced that it had performed the first-ever eVTOL flight test campaign in Saudi Arabia through collaboration with NEOM and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA). The flight tests served to evaluate Volocopter’s aircraft in terms of its flight performance in the local climate and in different environmental conditions. 

Volocopter’s eVTOL aircraft performs a test flight at the NEOM experience center.

The enterprise NEOM is developing what it calls a “smart city” in Saudi Arabia. NEOM and Volocopter founded a joint venture company in late 2021 to design and operate a public vertical mobility system for public transit in the future NEOM city. The plan is to incorporate eVTOL aircraft to connect the core urban development, “THE LINE.” NEOM placed an order for 10 VoloCity eVTOL aircraft and 5 of Volocopter’s cargo drones—VoloDrones.

In yet another announcement from Volocopter last week, the company confirmed along with Groupe ADP that eVTOL services will be available to the public by the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Groupe ADP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AutoFlight to conduct piloted eVTOL flights during the 2024 Olympics. Groupe ADP is also a partner of Ascendance Flight Technologies, which is developing a hybrid propulsion VTOL aircraft.

Volocopter and Groupe ADP plan to start construction of five vertiports in the Paris region this summer to enable commercial launch by the summer of 2024. eVTOL operations will begin with two tourist round trip flights from Paris Heliport and Paris Le Bourget, in addition to three connection routes: between Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris-Le Bourget airport; from the vertiport of Austerlitz barge to the Paris Heliport; and between the Paris Heliport and the Airfield of Saint-Cyr-l’École (Versailles). Opportunities to book a flight with Volocopter for next summer will be unveiled by the end of 2023, the company says.

Damien Cazé, Director General of Civil Aviation (left); Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter; Valérie Précresse, Présidente de la Region Ilê-de-France; and Edward Awkwright, Groupe ADP Deputy CEO (right), are pictured in front of the VoloCity aircraft at the Paris Air Show 2023.

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