Successful completion of the development of the EFT-Hybrid-1x
Electric Flytrain successfully completed the development and the validation of the EFT-Hybrid-1x. Combining the endurance of a traditional engine with the advantages of an electric powertrain, the EFT-Hybrid-1x enables heavy lifting UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to significantly extend their flight time, being able to fly for several hours, not just minutes.
The EFT-Hybrid-1x is a complex engineering product which combines multiple disciplines from electrical, software and mechanical engineering. Electric Flytrain has built up a team of world class electrical and software engineers to accomplish this development. With Electronic Engineers, who have previously designed the supercharger systems at Tesla and Software Engineers from Google, Tesla and Blickfeld, Electric Flytrain was ideally positioned for this task.
In order to master the mechanical engineering challenges and all the required hardware manufacturing and infrastructure, Electric Flytrain partnered with the company HC-Concepts. HC-Concepts has long standing experience in engine development and mechanical design and also the required facilities in order to quickly build up and validate complete powertrain systems.
This unique combination of talents from different disciplines is one of the key enablers for Electric Flytrain to have successfully developed and validated the EFT-Hybrid-1x product.
1. MVP (Minimum Viable Product):
The initial start of the development was in June 2021. The first milestone was to build a MVP which would prove the technical feasibility of the hybrid powertrain. In only four months, Electric Flytrain achieved to build the first MVP, which proved all base functionality.
2. Improvement of the Product:
The MVP showed the potential of the technology, hence Electric Flytrain was deciding to invest the required effort and finances to further develop the product. All Hardware, Electronic and Software components were analysed in detail and improved in a next iteration. In order to master the complexity of control and integration, the EFT-HCU-1x was developed as the central brain of the hybrid powertrain (see also EFT-HCU-1x). As a result a significantly improved version of the EFT-Hybrid-1x was completed in April 2022.
3. Onboarding of Pilot Customers:
With the improved version of the EFT-Hybrid-1x, Electric Flytrain approached potential pilot customers. Very quickly we registered significant interest in the developed technology and formed a collaboration with first pilot customers. This allowed to focus the next generation of the EFT-Hybrid-1x to be based on a package design which is suitable for integration into the target UAVs. Additionally the system was adjusted to precisely fit the requirements and even communication protocols of the UAV from the pilot customers. This led to an integration of two EFT-Hybrid-1x system in a synchronised parallel version, allowing for even increased power output and improved safety due to redundancy. A first fully integrated system and the functional validation was completed in September of 2022.
4. Validation and Endurance Testing:
Electric Flytrain embarked on an extensive validation campaign for the EFT-Hybrid-1x. Besides functional validation based on all set requirements, Electric Flytrain also conducted exhaustive endurance testing of the EFT-Hybrid-1x. In continuous performance runs of up to 50 hours, Electric Flytrain was able to prove the durability of the system. Additionally core parameters regarding specific fuel consumption, power output and emergency descent scenarios have been determined in detail.
The several steps of developments and validation have led to the following result:
The EFT-Hybrid-1x is a world’s first fully integrated and turn-key hybrid powertrain system. It has been fully integrated for usage in heavy lifting UAVs, and has been validated both for functionality and durability performance. The system has been tested for continuous operation at up to 18kW (two EFT-Hybrid-1x combined).
The EFT-Hybrid-1x is a great development feat for the hybrid-UAV industry.
The EFT-Hybrid-1x and it’s modular design lay the foundation for further hybrid-powertrain developments for the UAV industry.
The base technology of the system can be scaled to different power levels and applications. Electric Flytrain is accordingly opening the door to work with many different UAV manufacturers and applications.