EP Systems, which supplies electric powertrains, is now a strategic partner of all-electric seaglider developer, REGENT. (Photo: REGENT)
A recent announcement from Electric Power Systems included news of a strategic partnership with REGENT. REGENT is developing an all-electric seaglider, while EP Systems is a supplier of electric powertrains, including its EPiC battery technology system, for aviation applications.
"Their expertise in producing high-quality, efficient battery technology is second to none, and they share our deep commitment to safety,” remarked REGENT’s CEO, Billy Thalheimer.
NASA, Boeing, PLANA, Safran, and Supernal are some of EP Systems’ other customers.
Michael Duffy, Vice President of Product Development at EP Systems, explained that their batteries will be used as the propulsion system for REGENT’s seaglider, based on the new partnership.
“What's really interesting about REGENT is that they're going to be carrying passengers,” Duffy said. The seaglider “is going to be certified through a maritime authority, which is probably a lower barrier to entry than what the FAA would require.”
EP Systems has been working with Diamond Aircraft since 2021 on developing a fully-electric training aircraft called the eDA40. The aircraft is powered by EPiC battery technology and incorporates a Garmin G1000 NXi glass cockpit.
“We're taking that standard airframe, removing the gas-powered engine and the fuel tank, and putting in an electric motor,” Duffy shared. “It significantly reduces the cost per flight hour.” He added that training to become a pilot could cost $250 an hour, but an aircraft with electric batteries would cost closer to $180 per hour. “It's a significant savings which helps lower the barrier to entry for people to become pilots, which is a big issue; a lot of pilots are starting to retire.”
Duffy revealed that Diamond will be conducting the first flight with the eDA40 in the next couple of months.
EP Systems, which currently has about 110 employees, is planning to scale up soon. They expect to ship more than 1,000 total modules in 2023. The biggest challenge related to scaling up is finding domestic suppliers, Duffy remarked. “A lot of the cells that we use come from Asian partners,” he said. “There's a move to get more of our cells domestically and from European partners as well.”
For now, the company has enough capacity at their Utah-based facility to meet demand. “As we start to get more and more contracts, as soon as we start to certify these batteries, I can see the growth happening in the next year or two,” commented Duffy. “Probably 2024 or 2025 is when we’ll start expanding, and we've already got plans for a 70,000-square-foot expansion area.”