Propulsion E: Electrical spirit
Patented propulsion system
Climbing performance data for Antares 20E at a gross weight of 560 kg
Propulsion control system
Battery-systemThe Antares 20E is equipped with a battery-system based on lithium-ion cells of type SAFT VL41M. Lange Aviation was the first company worldwide to use these batteries. Meanwhile a remarkable number of other users have recognized the advantages of this specific cell type, and its range of application is continously growing.
Why lithium-ion cells?
Lithium is the lightest of all metals, and at the same time has the highest negative standard potential. Its low mass density and high voltage level result in a high specific energy density. Compared to other currently available lithium based cells (Li-Po / Li-Su), SAFT VL41M batteries have a great ability for high-current and a very high cyclic durability. Consequently SAFT VL41M Li-Ion cells represent the best electric energy source for an aircraft, while other merchantable battery types cannot be as capable.
Battery lifeTwo factors are crucial for the batteries’ life expectancy:
- number of charge/discharge cycles
- natural aging
<b>How many charge / discharge cycles?
The capacity of a battery diminishes with the number of charge and discharge cycles. According to most recent findings, our batteries will endure more than 4,500 SAE cycles. One SAE cycle stands for a full recharge, and a discharge down to 20% of the capacity. A partial charge and discharge equals the correspondent part of a full cycle. After 4,500 SAE cycles, the cells will still retain at least 80% of their original capacity. For the pilot, this means that the batteries will provide approximately 10,800,000 meters of altitude before they should be replaced.
<b>Natural aging </b>Of course, in everyday life the natural chemical aging of a battery is even more relevant. When stored at an average temperature of 20°C (68°F), batteries should - according to the latest findings - be replaced after 20 years. At this point, too, they will still have a capacity of 80% compared to the original condition.
Being a user of SAFT VL41M cells, Lange Aviation is in good company. These battery cells are for example also utilized in most of the current European satellites. The military drone RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV, the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Airbus A350, and many other high-tech applications have adopted these batteries as well.