U.K.-based Vertical Aerospace said it has selected E-One Moli Energy (Molicel), a manufacturer of lithium-ion cells, to supply its high-power cylindrical cells to power Vertical’s VX4 eVTOL aircraft.
With more than four decades of experience in energy research and development, Molicel’s lithium-ion cell technology is already used across applications in space, advanced automotive and power tools. Its other partners include NASA and Williams Advanced Engineering.
“We are on a mission to produce outstanding cells to drive the electric evolution and are very excited to enter this strategic partnership with Vertical Aerospace,” said Casey Shiue, president of Molicel. “We work with some of the best engineers in the world and have been immensely impressed by Vertical’s technical and engineering pedigree.”
The two companies will form a joint working group to ensure Molicel’s battery cells are combined with Vertical’s proprietary battery pack design to form a system that is a safe, reliable and high performance. The company said it plans to have its battery system certified concurrently with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, Molicel plans to open a second manufacturing facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, next year that would support mass production of its cells for Vertical.
“The future of electric aviation is dependent on safe, high-performance battery systems and fundamental to this is the battery cells themselves,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical. “That’s why I am delighted to be partnering with Molicel … Molicel has a rich history of innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in energy storage.”
This latest partnership with Molicel adds to Vertical’s already lengthy supplier list. To help develop its aircraft, the company has also partnered with Rolls-Royce, Microsoft, and Honeywell — all equity investors in Vertical — as well as GKN, Solvay and Leonardo.
Vertical’s eVTOL aircraft will be designed to transport a pilot and up to four passengers at targeted distances of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers), and top speeds of more than 200 mph (322 km/h). The company plans to begin flight testing its VX4 prototype this summer, and is targeting entry into service in 2025.