The israeli startup Eviation Aircraft, which raised some eyebrows at last years Paris Air Show with the prototype of its electrical light aircraft “Alice”, has officially announced the source for the batteries they will be using in their planes: South Korea’s Kokam.
The company said they chose a small battery supplier, as they believe that Kokam will be better prepared to produce batteries suited to Eviations unique needs. In an interview with Reuters, Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay confessed that he thinks “If I would go today to Samsung or Panasonic or LG Chem or Tesla for that matter and say I need a different cell size, they will probably laugh because the number of cells we are going to buy is not significant enough to start the design process.”
In order to start the process behind manufacturing a new battery module, Eviation would have to order far more batteries than they would need, at least with a larger corporation. In total, each Alice aircraft will have 9,400 battery cells, which will be spread over the entire plane, including the ceiling, floor and wings. The batteries all combine at a total weight of 3.8 tonnes, which will make up about 60% of the total weight of the plane.
The announcement also added that the company intends to stick to its time plan and ensure that the 9-seater electric planes will be carrying passengers as of 2021. A test flight with a demonstrator plane is planned for later this year, however for production to go ahead, Eviation will have to secure another 100 million dollars of funding.
The plane is designed to carry two pilots and between 6 and 9 passengers, and used a 980 kWh lithium-ion battery to power the 280 kW motor in Paris. The range of the plane was described as being 650 sea miles (1,200 km) and a top speed was quoted at 240 knots (about 440 km/h).
Eviation is not the only company working on a renewable energy powered aircraft; Airbus is working on a CityAirbus model, which will be undergoing test flights towards the end of this year. Boeing is supporting the US startup Zunum Aero, who is designing a hybrid airplane, which is planned for a market entry in 2022. More recently, the British startup Samad Aerospace introduced its hybrid-electric Starling Jet, which features ten seats and the ability to start and land vertically.
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