EP Systems to supply battery pack for Ampaire’s Grand Caravan
Ampaire has signed an exclusive agreement with Electric Power Systems (EP Systems) to supply the propulsion battery pack for Ampaire’s hybrid-electric upgrade of the Cessna Grand Caravan.
The aptly named, Eco Caravan has completed ground power tests and will fly before the end of the year. It is the first hybrid-electric aircraft to enter the FAA’s certification process — a supplemental type certification for the aircraft is expected in 2024.
EP Systems EPiC energy storage system, which will power the aircraft, contains cell technology that offers an energy density of over 200Wh/kg (watt-hours per kilogram) at the battery pack level while providing more than 2,000 fast-charge cycles before a replacement is required. Also, EPiC is made up of modular building blocks that allow systems to be sized to the aircraft’s needs.
Ampaire already flew a prototype of the EPiC system on its Electric EEL flying testbed aircraft — a hybrid-electric Cessna Skymaster.
“Ampaire’s practical approach to electrification is the start of a transportation revolution,” said EP Systems, founder and CEO Nathan Millecam. “We share a vision of lowering costs for aircraft operators and their passengers, while moving as quickly as possible to zero emissions aviation.”
The EPiC energy storage system is the second major element of the Eco Caravan propulsion system revealed by Ampaire. In July, the announced the RED Aircraft AO3 series compression ignition engine as the combustion portion of the parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system.
Ampaire founder and CEO, Kevin Noertker said: “We are working closely with fellow innovators to bring a new level of efficiency and low emissions to aviation. EP Systems has distinguished itself in tailoring its battery technology to our needs with a near-term certifiable solution.” EP systems will support Ampaire in its work to certify the Eco Caravan.
The aircraft can reduce fuel and emissions as much as 70% on shorter trips and 50% on longer ones, while preserving payload capability and extending range. Also, the Eco Caravan’s operating cost is 25% to 40% lower depending on the type of missions flown.