Electric Power Systems released its EPiC battery module this week and provided more details during an eVTOL Writers Group interview organised by the Vertical Flight Society.
In a session moderated by Graham Warwick of Aviation Week, EP Systems’ co-founders Nathan Millecam and Randy Dunn and Chief Technology Officer Michael Armstrong presented the new technology to listeners, and also participated in a Q&A session at the end.
The family of energy, power, and ultra power modules provide solutions for all-electric, hybrid-electric and micro-hybrid applications. The batteries’ modular, scalable designs provide a more effective and efficient way to deliver uncompromised electric power.
Millecam, who is also Electric Power Systems’ CEO, said: “The EPiC Family is a major step forward in advancing electric propulsion for airborne applications. Our modular platform allows aircraft designers the ability to create innovative new airframe concepts as well as revitalise legacy airframes. I want to thank the entire EP Systems team for their innovation, hard work, and tenacity in bringing this concept to market.”
The EPiC battery technology addresses some of the most prevalent roadblocks to advanced air mobility, including safety, certification, cost, weight, and infrastructure. The EPiC battery modules are lightweight and low-cost and plan to be FAA and EASA-certified to the highest industry safety standards.
Describing the EPiC modules during the presentation, Dunn said: “The modules themselves are not complete batteries. They’re intended to be put together in a series to create a high voltage string, kind of like building blocks going into a system that would be put together to create string or multiple strings to complete an entire energy storage system.
“There are some additional supporting elements that go in there, but for the most part, these modules themselves are fully contained as sub-batteries that can linked together to form larger systems.”
Dunn showed a graphic which showed the different configurations of the company’s modules, which includes being stacked together with battery management electronics on either side for safety and communications to the aircraft.
Another configuration sees the batteries stacked with a ventilation plenum on top to take thermal runaway and pipe it out of a common vent outside the aircraft. A final one is a smaller configuration for an APU which would be a single battery of only 28V with integrated electronics built into it.
“It just shows the variety of applications and configurations we can achieve with this standard building block. We believe these three modules and types cover quite a wide range of aircraft and needs for our customer base,” Dunn said.
“This includes the emerging eVTOL market, retrofits, electrification of existing aircraft, new developments in fixed wing and traditional aircraft too. It’s a good offering to get complete battery systems put together quickly to support our customers, who are usually frantically trying to put together a battery system to achieve a goal and move their programmes forward.
“They can use our products knowing they are currently in certification with the FAA and EASA right now, and we’re already gone through the most critical safety tests for thermal containment, as well as shock and vibration tests. We’re now in the process of going through the formalities to get them certified with the FAA.”
EP Systems provides high-power scalable powertrains that are certiﬁable for electriﬁed aviation. It develops energy storage systems, DC fast-charging stations, and electric propulsion products for Aerospace, Defense, Automotive, Marine, and Industrial Traction industries.
The EPiC TSO is estimated to reach completion in Q2 of 2022 and EP Systems is currently working with numerous launch customers to integrate the system into their aircraft. Companies it is already working with include NASA, Boeing, Safran, Bell Textron and Embraer. Boeing and Safran invested in EP Systems in 2019, to enhance its research and development, energy storage, and electric propulsion capabilities.
EP Systems already has numerous battery systems currently powering flight demonstrator vehicles, including NASA’s X-57 and Bell’s Nexus air taxi.