Kawasaki invests in VoltAero, Sky2Share orders aircraft
Kawasaki has invested in the French hybrid aircraft developer VoltAero as a new strategic investor. VoltAero has also begun constructing an assembly plant at Rochefort-Charente-Maritime Airport, where the hybrid aircraft is to be built.
Neither company has yet revealed the amount being invested by Kawasaki. A company statement from VoltAero only says that Kawasaki Motors is participating in the Series B financing round for the development, production and certification of the hybrid-electric aircraft family Cassio. VoltAero already raised 32 million euros in the Series B round in November 2022 from the Italian company Tesi (Tecnologie E Servizi Innovativi), which in future will not only act as an investor but also as an industrial partner.
A similar collaboration is apparently planned with the Japanese manufacturer: “Kawasaki’s engine expertise and its capacity for innovation brings a new dimension to VoltAero as we complete the final definition of our electric-hybrid powertrain for the Cassio aircraft family,” said Jean Botti, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of VoltAero, welcoming the new investor. “Having Kawasaki as a strategic investor is another major vote of confidence for the Cassio program.”
Hiroshi Ito, President and CEO of Kawasaki Motors Ltd. states he is “deeply impressed” by VoltAero’s creative design and innovative technology in the aviation industry (…). “We look forward to contributing to VoltAero’s business growth with this investment,” he surmised.
The Series B round represents the third phase of financing for VoltAero. This latest funding round should enable the company to industrialise its Cassio 330 as the first aircraft in the Cassio family. The French company is planning three versions: the five-seat Cassio 330, the six-seat Cassio 480 and the twelve-seat Cassio 600. The number in each model designation stands for the engine power in kilowatts.
As can bee seen in the images provided, the VoltAero aircraft is not a converted aircraft but a completely new development. Cassio aircraft is characterised by a hybrid propulsion system with a pusher propeller located at the rear of the fuselage. The slender fuselage has fixed auxiliary wings called canards at the front and a wing set to the rear with twin booms supporting a raised horizontal tailplane.
VoltAero also says it has begun construction at Rochefort-Charente-Maritime airport on the industrial facility where the hybrid aircraft will be built. The facility will combine three final assembly lines with a workshop, logistics area and offices. Completion is scheduled for June 2024, with delivery of the first aircraft in early 2025. The production site is located about 40 minutes by car north of VoltAero’s headquarters at the Aérodrome de Royan-Médis..
The flurry of activity for the French aircraft manufacturer was topped off with a pre-order for 15 of its hybrid aircraft from the Swiss business aviation company Sky2Share. According to the company, VoltAero now has orders and reservations for a total of 218 units.
voltaero.aero (Kawasaki), voltaero.aero (building start), voltaero.aero (Sky2Share)
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