Successful completion of the development of the EFT-Hybrid-1x
EFT Mobility successfully completed the development and 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 that combines multiple disciplines from electrical, software, and mechanical engineering. EFT Mobility 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, EFT Mobility was ideally positioned for this task.
In order to master the mechanical engineering challenges and all the required hardware manufacturing and infrastructure, EFT Mobility partnered with the company HC-Concepts. HCC 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 EFT Mobility 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 an MVP that would prove the technical feasibility of the hybrid powertrain. In only four months, EFT Mobility manufactured the first MVP, which proved all base functionality.
2. Improvement of the Product:
The MVP showed the potential of the technology, and for that reason, EFT Mobility decided to invest the required effort and finances to further develop the product. All hardware, electronic, and software components were analyzed in detail and improved in the 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, EFT Mobility approached potential pilot customers. Very quickly we received significant interest in the developed technology and formed a collaboration with the early adopter clients. This allowed the next generation of the EFT-Hybrid-1x to be based on a package design that 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 systems in a synchronized parallel version, allowing for even increased power output and improved safety due to redundancy. The first fully integrated system and the functional validation were completed in September of 2022.
4. Validation and Endurance Testing:
EFT Mobility embarked on an extensive validation campaign for the EFT-Hybrid-1x. Besides functional validation based on all set requirements, EFT Mobility also conducted exhaustive endurance testing of the EFT-Hybrid-1x. In continuous performance runs of up to 50 hours, we were 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 development and validation have led to the following results:
The EFT-Hybrid-1x is one of the world’s first fully integrated and turn-key hybrid powertrain systems. It has been seamlessly incorporated for use in heavy-duty 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 one-of-a-kind development feat for the hybrid UAV industry.
The EFT-Hybrid-1x and its modular design have laid 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. EFT Mobility is accordingly opening the door to work with many different mobility manufacturers and applications.