H55 secures first round of funding to develop electric propulsion
Solar Impulse's Co-founder André Borschberg and several former colleagues have launched a new company, H55, to bring electric propulsion to aviation. H55 has just completed its first VC financing round with NanoDimension, a Silicon Valley and Swiss based Venture Capital firm.
The company aims to further develop the potential of electric propulsion for existing airplane designs and new aviation solutions such as flying cars, drones and VTOLs.
H55 is founded by André Borschberg, Executive Chairman, Sébastien Demont, CTO and Gregory Blatt, Head of Business Development. They claim electric propulsion will revolutionise aviation as it addresses all the challenges and criticisms of traditional combustion aircrafts: noise, pollution, high operating and maintenance costs, risks and safety.
Previously they built two Solar Impulse electric airplanes and flew them round the world, covering 42,000 km to prove the concept of making air transport cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable.
Electric powers new designs
H55 focuses on the entire propulsion chain, starting from the energy source and its management, through to thrust and power, and all control systems. The company provides turnkey software and hardware solutions integrating and optimising the propeller, transmission systems, electric motors and controllers, energy storage, and pilot interface. H55 electric propulsion systems have redundancy built in, for safety and security.
The design, production and integration both in terms of the material, equipment and engineers all benefit from securing certification approval at each incremental step.
Vision and experience
André Borschberg said: "Electric air transport will drastically improve the way we live and move. New concepts which are only possible with electric propulsion, will soon allow for aircraft to take off and land vertically and quietly.
"Imagine boarding an electric airplane on top of a building which can bring you to the other side of the city in less than 10 minutes, with no impact on the environment at the KM cost of a car?"
Founder and CEO of NanoDimension Aymeric Sallin, commented, “With SI2 (Solar Impulse 2), André flew over the cities of New York and Shanghai and crossed the Pacific. He has more experience of flying electric aircraft than any other pilot or company in the world. He trusted his life with the technology developed by his team to enable perpetual flight. Aviation regulators trusted them as well and certified SI2 allowing them to fly over cities, continents and oceans.”