By Elan Head

An award-winning journalist, Elan is also a commercial helicopter pilot and an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor with helicopter and instrument ratings. Follow her on Twitter @elanhead


Electric Power Systems developing certified battery solution for electric aircraft

Electric Power Systems (EPS) has started the process of certifying a family of lithium battery modules for use in a variety of aviation applications, including eVTOL aircraft.

EPS EPiC battery module
Electric Power Systems said its EPiC module is designed to integrate into electric aircraft easily with minimal installation weight. EPS Photo

The Logan, Utah-based company is pursuing Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration for the platform, which it calls Electric Propulsion ion Core, or EPiC. It will be compliant with DO-311A (Venting Category B), a standard that specifies minimum operational performance standards for rechargeable lithium batteries.

Although EPS won’t be doing a formal product launch for EPiC until later this month, chief technology officer Michael Armstrong offered a sneak peek to attendees of the Vertical Flight Society’s Forum 77 on May 13. According to Armstrong, the module is designed to be very lightweight, with features that facilitate its efficient integration into aircraft. These include a data/comms connector and module-to-module power connector that eliminate complex wiring, embedded thermal management with minimal coolant volume requirements, a high-temperature composite case that eliminates the need for an additional vehicle firewall, and the ability to be configured and mounted in any orientation.

EPS EPiC batteries

Recognizing that “different applications [need] different things from the battery,” Armstrong said, the EPiC module will be available in three variants: EPiC Power, EPiC Energy, and EPiC Ultra. Between them, they will provide options for fully electric fixed-wing and VTOL aircraft, as well as hybrid-electric applications where weight is less critical.

Armstrong told Forum 77 attendees that EPS is targeting TSO authorization in the second quarter of 2022. He said the company has already worked on more than 20 unique battery systems for electric aircraft, of which six have already flown, some with human pilots on board.

“The EPiC platform is a result of many years of iterative learning, specific to propulsion batteries,” Armstrong told by email. “It has already begun its certification process, which is really exciting. We anticipate this will help accelerate progress towards electric flight.”

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