Several goals were pursued during the development. The charging system should be reliable, robust and very effective. In addition, the charging system should meet the highest safety standards, both in terms of the charging process itself and in terms of personal safety. Last but not least, repairs should be quick and easy by replacing individual modules. After two years of intensive development and testing, we have succeeded in supplying a charging system that fully meets these and other development goals. Of course, the charging system is once more fully integrated into the fuselage and thus also enables soaring safaris.
In order to achieve maximum reliability, automotive assemblies and components were integrated on a broad scale. The charging connector used to connect the Antares to the mains outlet is an automotive type 2 connector, as used in current electric vehicles today. The power unit, which converts the AC mains voltage into 300 V DC charging current, is also an automotive device that meets the latest standards. In the other assemblies of the charging system, automotive-certified components were used as far as possible. The charger has been developed and extensively tested in accordance with aviation standards ED-79/DO-178C/DO-254. Furthermore, the first aircraft were already equipped with the new charging system in 2020 and operated without any complaints.
The charger can charge continuously with high DC currents of up to 9 A. With the legacy battery system, this reduces the charging time for a full charge to 5.5 hours. For the new Antares.RED.3 battery system with increased capacity, the increased charging power is necessary to fully charge the battery overnight. The new battery generation is also stored at a cell voltage of 3.8 V and not 4.0 V as was hitherto the case, while the maximum individual cell voltage for “Charging Plus” has also been increased from 4.1 V to 4.2 V. If you decide to fly at short notice, the new charging system allows you to quickly charge the battery from a storage voltage of 3.8 V to the maximum 4.2 V.
All devices in the charging system meet the highest modern safety standards with regard to personal safety. The devices feature double insulation. The use of a galvanically isolated power module also provides a major safety gain. The EVSE, which carries the current from the AC mains outlet to the charging system, monitors not only the maximum current but also the contacting of the mains socket and, if necessary, reduces the charging power. In addition, the EVSE detects wiring faults in the mains outlet and permanently monitors its protective earth. The processes used comply with current automotive standards. The potential problems of dubious older electrical installations on airfields can thus be effectively countered with state-of-the-art technology.