Monday 31st July 2023: Equipmake, the UK-based engineering specialist pioneering the development and production of electrification products across the automotive, aerospace, bus, coach, and marine industries, has provided an advanced electric propulsion unit (EPU) for Vertical Aerospace’s prototype eVTOL aircraft.
Recently completing the first-ever full-scale untethered eVTOL flights in the UK, the VX4 prototype features a totally bespoke EPU from Equipmake, combining a lightweight, power dense electric motor with a high-performance inverter, designed, developed and manufactured by Equipmake at its base in Snetterton, UK.
Each motor uses Equipmake’s proprietary rotor design, with the magnets forming a Halbach array to maximise torque and minimise mass to deliver, while the inverter is matched to the motor for optimum power density.
The significant milestone of the first thrustborne flights – meaning the prototype eVTOL aircraft has been held up by the thrust of its vertical propulsion system – allows Vertical Aerospace to to progress on its mission to certify the VX4 by the end of 2026.
The aircraft is being designed to carry a pilot and four passengers and is expected to have a range of up to 100 miles with the ability to cruise at speeds of around 150 miles per hour. The project is the first time Equipmake’s electrification products and expertise have been applied to the rapidly growing eVTOL market, which is estimated to be worth $30.8 Billion globally by 20301.
Ian Foley, Equipmake CEO, said: “ Congratulations to Vertical Aerospace on achieving this milestone. Through our advanced, lightweight, power dense electric propulsion unit, which combines both our e-motor and inverter technology, we’re delighted to be supporting the company on its journey and are looking forward to further assisting in accelerating prototype vehicle development.”
Jenny Harcourt, Director of Procurement & Supply Chain, Vertical Aerospace said:“This first untethered flight of the VX4 marks a significant milestone for us and I’m delighted we have the support and expertise of Ian Foley and his team at Equipmake, who have provided us with an advanced, lightweight, electrical propulsion unit which has played an absolutely critical role in this achievement.”