Hybrid electric aircraft to become an option on air taxi service
August 11, 2020
Hybrid-electric aircraft developer VoltAero’s forthcoming Cassio aircraft is to be one of the options available to users of an app-based on demand air taxi network being developed in the USA called KinectAir.
French firm VoltAero, which is headed up by former Airbus- chief technology officer Jean Botti, is developing the Cassio aircraft, which will fly at 200 knot-cruise speeds (360km/h) out to ranges of 800 miles (1,300km). The Cassio will be available in three versions with four to 10 seats and will be able to take off and land on runways of less than 1,800ft (550m) at local and regional airports.
The Cassio is using the company’s proprietary hybrid-electric power module and will be built in southwest France. First deliveries of the aircraft are scheduled to begin in late 2022.
Startup KinectAir launched earlier this year and is developing a short-haul regional air taxi service that uses a fleet of turboprop aircraft such as PC-12s, Cirrus SR22s and now the Cassio. The service is up and running with KinectAir operating as a charter broker in Vancouver, Washington, while it applies for Part 135 charter operator status and develops its Uber-like smartphone app and software backbone.
The partnership between the two companies foresees Cassio aircraft integrated with KinectAir’s short-haul infrastructure, applying artificial intelligence to balance passenger demand with air transport availability. KinectAir’s software platform will interface directly with Cassio’s “intelligent cockpit”.
Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technology officer said, “The KinectAir collaboration opens exciting opportunities, combining the full benefit of our Cassio aircraft’s low-noise, environmentally-friendly flights with an app that offers an accessible, affordable, sustainable and safe way to travel regionally by air.”
Botti added that ensuring regional air service is more important today than ever, especially when economically-challenged airlines around the world are abandoning shorter routes – threatening air links that serve as vital lifelines to thousands of communities.