United invests in EP Systems battery technology


United Airlines Ventures has made an undisclosed investment in Electric Power Systems (EP Systems). 

The airline said the “versatility” of EP Systems’ technology means its modules could be chosen for a number of United’s near-term applications, as well as being a part of its longer-term decarbonisation plan. This is United’s second foray into electric battery technology, after investing in sodium-ion specialist Natron in November last year.

United Airlines Ventures president Michael Leskinen, said: “Typically, we’ve had a clear vision of how to integrate sustainability investments into our operations. What makes EPS’s technology different and exciting is the scope of operational possibilities where we have the option to deploy it today and, in the future, to help electrify and decarbonise our operations.”

Leskinen said that United’s best roadmap to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is by using every tool at its disposal. “That includes the potential use of EPS’s impressive portfolio of electric aircraft powertrain solutions, including high-performance power electronics, and energy storage systems,” he said.

United said it is looking at options to electrify its pilot training academy, Aviate. EP Systems’ powertrain could serve as the propulsion system for a family of future electric aircraft concepts, starting with an electric trainer before scaling to larger variants, Leskinen explained. The airline also has over 12,000 pieces of motorised ground equipment, modules could be used for charging electric ground equipment or electrified cold-chain storage for cargo containers.

Nathan Millecam, CEO, EP Systems, said: “We are excited to collaborate with United Airlines Ventures as we continue to advance electric aviation technology. United’s investment will enable us to scale our operations and expedite the development of our cutting-edge powertrain solutions. By working together, our aim is to revolutionise air travel and build a more sustainable future for the industry.”