Electric motor manufacturer Evolito is eyeing a three-year timeframe for the certification of its first product following the recent granting of Design Organization Approval (DOA) status from the UK regulator.
Announced on 5 December, the award sees Evolito become the first entity in the UK to gain such an approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for electric propulsion systems.
Receipt of the DOA is an essential step on the path towards commercialisation and “is a huge deal for us”, says Evolito chief operating officer Gareth Morris.
Evolito was spun out of Yasa Motors in 2021 ahead of the latter’s acquisition by automotive giant Mercedes-Benz that year.
Gaining the DOA “a little more than two years after independence” is a “huge achievement”, he adds.
The company registered its DOA application with the CAA “very, very quickly” post spin-put “as we had a head start with the technology and a route to high-volume manufacture”, says Morris: “A lot of the building blocks were already there.”
Evolito’s next goal is to achieve Production Organization Approval status, a milestone Morris anticipates at some point in 2024.
An application for type certification of a propulsion system based around a stacked pair of its D250 motors will likely be lodged with the CAA next year, he says, “although this will depend a little on customer progress”.
Based on that schedule Morris expects certification “in the latter part of 2026”.
While he declines to reveal the customer, Morris says the first application is for a vertical take-off aircraft.
Evolito has already shipped an electric motor and inverters to Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) for its Project Fresson effort to convert a Britten-Norman BN2 Islander into a hydrogen-electric demonstrator.
To date, there is no production contract in place, but discussions with CAeS continue, he says.
Several other customers have already or will shortly receive motors or electric propulsion units on a sample basis as Evolito works through the transition from its former owners.
“We are now able to manufacture product independent of Yasa,” says Morris.
However, its manufacturing system retains much of the know-how established under Yasa, which he describes as a “robust, high-volume process” which will enable output of up to 20,000 units per year.
Evolito’s axial flux motors are easily stackable to achieve power levels of up to around 1MW, says Morris. However, to go much beyond that “we would look at a larger unit based on the same principles”.
Meanwhile, the integration of battery specialist Electroflight is largely complete and the business “has really been brought into the Evolito fold”, he says.
Electroflight was acquired by Evolito in 2022 in a pre-pack sale following its collapse into administration. The pair had previously worked together on the Accel project to develop the world’s fastest electric aircraft.
Batteries were not included in the initial DOA application due to time constraints and no immediate demand from customers, “but when the time is right we will apply to add it to our scope”, says Morris.
However, the motor maker has dropped the Electroflight brand, with the unit now trading under the Evolito banner.
This article has been edited to correct a date in the fourth paragraph.