Air Taxi

Boeing, Safran Make Joint Investment in EPS to Develop Electric Aircraft Industrial Base

Boeing and Safran are making a joint investment in Electric Power Systems, where technicians (pictured above) are already working on electric battery technology for a number of electric air taxi and airplane developers. Photo: EPS

Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Safran have made a joint investment of an undisclosed sum in Electric Power Systems (EPS), a privately held Utah-based company that has made headlines in recent years for establishing new advanced electric battery system supplier agreements to NASA and Bell, among other companies developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

EPS will use the joint investment to develop “a highly automated” industrial base capable of reducing the cost of development for battery systems for future electric airplanes and air taxis.

"This strategic investment accelerates the development of clean, quiet and safe urban air mobility solutions,” Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures, said of the investment in EPS.

Under the joint investment, Safran will look to collaborate with EPS on developing fully electric and hybrid electric propulsion system technology. Another division of Safran, the cabin interiors division, has already been involved in a partnership with Uber to release a prototype cabin for a future air taxi.

The Boeing-Safran investment is the latest electric air taxi battery system supplier milestone for EPS, which also provides the battery modules, management unit and power distribution unit for the Bye Aerospace flight demonstrator. Bell selected EPS to provide the advanced energy storage system for its Nexus air taxi in November 2018.

EPS is also providing an 850-pound lithium-ion battery pack for NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric experimental aircraft being developed by the agency to demonstrate the use of distributed electric propulsion in future airplanes.

EPS is the second advanced battery solutions company to join the Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio, following an investment in Cuberg, an advanced lithium metal battery technology company, in 2018. Safran Ventures also recently invested in OXIS Energy, a UK-based leader in lithium-sulfur cell technology for high energy density battery systems.

"Electrification of flight has the potential to fundamentally change how goods, services and humans connect. We are thrilled to work with visionary companies such as Boeing and Safran to further develop and field advanced energy solutions that can meet real world mission demands," Nathan Millecam, CEO of EPS said of the new joint investment.

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