Experience maximum performance, agility and safety both in the air and on the ground: The new Antares.RED.3 battery system will be available from summer 2022 and is shifting horizons in electric aircraft propulsion beyond all expectations. Lange Aviation’s third generation battery for the electric propulsion of Antares sailplanes provides up to 60% more energy than the previous system. It takes the Antares 21E to a climb altitude of 5,600 meters (18370 ft), including self-launch, in a safe, powerful, quiet and emission-free manner.
The Antares.RED in its third generation once again combines highly optimized, batteries protected in the wings, advanced control electronics and sophisticated power management for electric propulsion in aircraft. Lange Aviation’s battery system represents “Reliable Electric Design”; the pioneering spirit of flying higher and thus further than ever before with a self-launching electric sailplane. Take off autonomously, be more independent, charge faster – as conveniently as with the latest EVs.
60% more energy allows a climb height of up to 5,600 meters (18370 ft)
Antares follows its tradition as the world’s first series-produced sailplane with electric propulsion and sets new standards with RED.3 batteries and a new charger have once again raised the bar in terms of performance and safety. This means that the system is once again breaking records.
Antares.RED.3 is available in two variants: S-tandard and L-arge. In the L variant, the number of individual cells per battery block is increased, enabling an increase of 60% compared to the previous system. With RED 3, an Antares 21E achieves a purely electric climb altitude including self-launch of 5600 m, and the range is around 380 km ( 205 nm). This means that the high-performance aircraft clearly surpasses its previous best performance.
The new propulsion battery is a technically sophisticated combination of more than one thousand compact Li-Ion 21700 cells integrated into the wings. The cells interact with extensive measurement sensors, control electronics and the intelligent Antares charger.
Components from the automotive industry
Technical progress in the development of battery technology has gained speed across all industries thanks to the e-mobility boom. The engineers at Lange Aviation take advantage of this and adopt innovations from the automotive industry into aircraft construction in a timely and sustainable manner. This is how they design “Zero Emission High Performance Aircraft Technology.”
The improvement in the powered flight performance of electric sailplanes is the result of the increasing specific energy density of battery cells on the one hand, and the unimpeded access to power by the electric motor on the other.
Performance and value of Antares aircraft increases with their age
The 21700 battery cell format is regarded as future-oriented and is being intensively developed by the industry. This security of investment ensures that Antares motor gliders with Antares.RED battery systems will have even more performance reserves in the next generations.. With their virtually wear-free electric propulsion system, Antares motorgliders achieve value growth and optimum resale values through upgrades to their battery system.
Always higher through more energy per battery: Antares.RED.3 is based on more than one thousand very compact cells. The underlying cell format enjoys great popularity in the automotive industry, among others, and is the new standard format for high-quality traction batteries. Due to the high demand, there is a high level of innovation, which results in a continuously improving performance of the battery format. One of the benchmarks for innovation in Antares aircraft is the increase in gravimetric energy density (see graph): This describes how much energy per weight can be stored in a battery. The higher the value, the more energy can be stored in an Antares aircraft while maintaining the same battery mass and the same battery dimensions. It can be deduced from this that an Antares with modern RED battery systems will be able to climb ever higher in the future. Today, the L variant of Antares.RED.3 already reaches 5,600 m (18370 ft) – if the development trend continues, altitudes of up to 6,700 m (22000 ft) will be feasible by 2030.
References: Journ. Of Solid State El. Chemistry (Placke, Kloepsch), BloombergNEF – as of May 2021 – The above mentioned altitudes of 5,600m and 6,700m refer to Antares.RED.3 in the version L
“Protect ahead”: Forward-looking safety concept protects in case of thermal runaway
The unique concept of power storage and power management in Antares aircraft sets itself apart and sets standards with its high standards of integrated electronic control, manufacturing quality and power monitoring. This can be seen in previously unattained performance data and, above all, maximum safety: the most dangerous consequence of a manufacturing error in a battery cell is a thermal runaway. In the event of a thermal runaway, the cell contents heat up to such an extent that they escape from the cell under high gas development and high pressure. The mixture of cell contents and gas can have temperatures of up to 1,400° C (2550 °F), and the housing heats up to 500 °C (930 °F). Up to 14 liters (3.7 US gal.) of gas per cell are released. Antares.RED.3 ensures that such a thermal runaway of a cell remains almost without consequences. Pilot will be informed about this, the aircraft itself will not be damaged. Individual, possibly defective cells are replaced in the course of maintenance.
Battery cells communicate with control electronics
The networking of battery cells, control electronics and pilot information within Antares.RED runs under the motto “Human Centric Innovation” at Lange Aviation; the aim here is to create information transparency, anticipate problems and avoid negative consequences for the pilot and aircraft. In addition to damage caused by faulty cells, the Antares system also prevents hazards caused by operating errors: Batteries cannot be overcharged or improperly charged after a deep discharge or at too low temperatures.
Both “daisy chain” technology and CAN bus are used for communication within the battery systems. This pairing makes communication very powerful and meets the highest security standards. The balancing of the cells is also controlled via the bus systems. High-precision measurement of the single cell temperature is available as an option. The entire drive system and the third-generation battery therefore fully meet the requirements for personal safety.
Delivery in winter 2021/22
The Antares.RED battery system will also be used in powered aircraft in the future. For this reason, certification is carried out in accordance with the major aviation standards ED-79, DO-178C and DO-254. The Design Assurance Level to be applied is C (DAL C). The procedures required by DAL C guarantee high-quality and very secure hardware and software. Delivery will start in winter 2021/22.