ABOVE: VoltAero plan to target “20% of the market segment” with the new Cassio 330.
Another prototype ‘green’ aircraft unveiled at the Paris Air Show this year was the Cassio 330 hybrid-electric platform, designed and developed by French startup company VoltAero.
Described by Jean Botti, CEO and Chief Technical Officer for Volt Aero as “a true milestone for electric aviation,” the four/five seat Cassio 330 will be powered by a four-cylinder thermal engine from Japanese motorbike manufacturers Kawasaki. French company AKIRA Technologies will be responsible for the integration and validation of this unit, as well as the gearbox and Safran electric motor.
The No.1 Cassio 330 prototype is scheduled to perform its maiden flight later this year, with EASA type certification expected in the first quarter of 2025. Construction of a purpose-built manufacturing facility (located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France) commenced last month, with the company aiming to produce around 60 aircraft a year in 2025; rising to 90 by 2026 and 150 by 2027.
“We cannot keep using old designs of aircraft for new propulsion systems” explained Dennis Khripunov, Sales and Marketing Manager for VoltAero, explaining the rationale behind the clean-sheet design. Elaborating on the company’s choice to pursue a hybrid-electric propulsion system, he clarified that VoltAero “knew from the start full electric was a no-go,” citing the current technology as “not yet ready”.
The unpressurised Cassio 330 will have a maximum cruise speed of 180kts and produce just 59dB. Further models already on the drawing board include the six-seat Cassio 480 (anticipated to enter service at the end of 2026) and the ten/twelve-seat Cassio 480 (slated to enter service in 2028). Both variants will be pressurised and feature retractable landing gear.
IMAGE: CHARLOTTE BAILEY