VoltAero has become the latest electric aircraft company to begin construction on a factory by breaking ground at its final assembly line for the Cassio electric-hybrid aircraft at Rochefort Airport in France. 

The company has celebrated the groundbreaking of the project, which will see a 2,400m² facility built at the airport in the Charente-Maritime department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, with a scope to build up to a 7,400m site. 

VoltAero CEO and chief technology officer Jean Botti said: “With today’s groundbreaking milestone for our final assembly facility, VoltAero is once again delivering on its promise of bringing a clean-sheet design aeroplane to market for safe, quiet, efficient and eco-friendly flight using electric-hybrid propulsion.” 

The Cassio design is a small, single-engine aircraft that will be able to carry five to 12 people across its three versions, the Cassio 330, 480 and 600, designed for regional commercial operators, air taxi/charter companies and for use in services such as cargo and postal delivery of medical evacuation. 

The design of the Cassio aircraft. Credit: VoltAero.

The four-seat Cassio 330, with a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 330 kilowatts, is the first expected to enter service with a target of early 2024, though the new facility is not expected to be complete until August 2024. 

VoltAero’s new facility is expected to produce roughly 150 Cassio aircraft per year and has been placed in Southwest France to capitalise on the established aviation industry presence in the area, which is also home to large aircraft manufacturer Airbus with its headquarters in Blagnac, in the neighbouring Occitanie region. 

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Work on constructing the company’s facility follows announcements from two other significant companies in the electric aircraft space, with eVTOL manufacturer Joby Aviation revealing plans for its $500m manufacturing facility at Dayton International Airport in Ohio, US. 

Another eVTOL manufacturer, Eve, has also announced plans for a production facility for its aircraft at an Embraer site in Brazil.