Airbus has established a new battery lab at its Airbus China Innovation Center (ACIC) in Shenzhen, the company has announced.
Opened in August 2019, the lab will test batteries for a range of applications, from electric propulsion to electrical systems. A core focus will be developing high-performance and safe batteries for a new generation of electric and hybrid-electric air taxis.
“Better batteries will help to enable tomorrow’s aerial vehicles,” stated ACIC project manager Mustang Guo. “New urban air vehicles, as seen in the case of Vahana and CityAirbus” — the company’s prototype eVTOL aircraft — “will require batteries that are not only extremely light and powerful, but also reliable and cost-efficient.”
The ACIC team will collaborate with local partners in Shenzhen, including the electric vehicle and battery maker BYD. ACIC will also work closely with the Airbus team in Toulouse, France, that develops new battery solutions for aerospace applications.
“Having a battery lab in China is the perfect complement to our electrical lab in Toulouse,” said Valéry Gineste, head of electrical engineering at Airbus, in a news release. “The ACIC lab will focus on testing the latest cells and battery technologies to emerge from China, which will reduce time to market.”
The new lab will also study long-standing battery challenges including thermal runaway, and look at how to safely replace nickel cadmium with superior lithium-ion batteries to power aircraft systems, without the need for restrictive heavy casing. Further exploration areas will follow, the company said.
ACIC is Airbus’ second innovation center after A3 by Airbus in California’s Silicon Valley. Like A3, ACIC aims to leverage local expertise while collaborating with Airbus teams across business units to develop new offerings.