Dovetail Unveils New Facility for Electric Aircraft Development in Gippsland

11 Jun, 2024 | News

Gippsland, Victoria – Dovetail Electric Aviation has inaugurated a cutting-edge electric aircraft development centre at the Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct, located within Latrobe Regional Airport. This strategic move, supported by the Victorian state government, marks a significant step towards Dovetail’s ambition of retrofitting regional aircraft with zero-emissions battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

(Image: Dovetail Electric Aviation)

Victoria’s Minister for Economic Growth, Tim Pallas, expressed enthusiasm about Dovetail’s new facility: “Securing Dovetail Electric Aviation’s presence in the Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct is a notable achievement for advanced air mobility in Victoria. It will significantly enhance our state’s clean energy economy and contribute valuably to our research and development sector.”

Aiming to certify its first battery-electric aircraft by 2026, Dovetail has relocated its headquarters from New South Wales to Victoria. The company is currently showcasing its powertrain prototype at the new Latrobe site.

David Doral, CEO of Dovetail Electric Aviation, acknowledged the state government’s backing, stating, “We are honoured to receive this support. This investment will accelerate our R&D efforts, bringing us closer to a sustainable, efficient, and accessible aviation future.”

Doral emphasised the region’s shift from traditional industries, highlighting the potential of the Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct to position Latrobe Regional Airport at the forefront of the emerging aviation sector. This initiative is expected to foster new industries and create significant investment and employment opportunities.

The local council has also expressed its support, welcoming collaboration with both existing and emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) technologies as part of this exciting industry expansion.

Dovetail’s innovative approach to electrification has already garnered attention, particularly through its partnership with Rex Airlines, which holds a 20 percent stake in the company. Together, they plan to convert several of Rex’s 61 Saab 340 turbine aircraft into electric planes, potentially reducing operating costs by 40 percent—a significant advantage for regional routes.

In 2022, Rex’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, announced plans to trial the retrofitted electric and hydrogen-powered MagniX engine on short routes, such as Adelaide to Mount Gambier, in 2024. “We will be conducting trials with a real aircraft, swapping out the existing jet fuel engine for an electric motor supported by both batteries and hydrogen,” Sharp told the ABC.

Additionally, Dovetail has signed an agreement with Hyundai Motor Group’s HTWO to supply a hydrogen fuel cell system for testing electric powertrains, further advancing their zero-emissions aviation objectives.

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