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Model Electric VTOL Aircraft Battery Pack

Since R2023b

This example shows how to model an electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft and design the battery pack. You can download this model in MATLAB® or access it from MATLAB Central File Exchange and GitHub®.

Example Overview

In this example, you learn how to:

  • Integrate batteries, motors, and propellers to model the aircraft.

  • Identify the battery energy density requirements using parallel simulations.

  • Characterize the battery cell model using manufacturer-specific parameters.

  • Determine the loadcases of the battery current from mission simulations.

  • Assemble the battery pack architectures.

  • Determine the thermal requirements by setting the target temperature gradients.

  • Design the cooling plates at the module and pack level.

The electric aircraft model includes a battery, two DC networks, and a mechanical model of the aircraft that acts as a load on the high-voltage DC network. The low-voltage DC network includes a set of loads that turn on and off during the flight cycle. For more information about this example, follow these steps to explore the overview that opens in your web browser or see Electric Aircraft (VTOL) Battery Pack Model with Simscape (MATLAB Central File Exchange).

Download Files

Clone the up-to-date repository in the current folder using the gitclone function.


Alternatively, choose one of these options. You can download the latest files and versions of the project that are compatible with earlier releases of MATLAB using these options.

Open Project

After you use the gitclone function, MATLAB creates a new folder in the current folder. This example uses projects to manage the supporting files. Open the Airtaxi_VTOL project file. If you have any projects open, MATLAB closes them before loading this project. Configuring the project environment takes several minutes because the model has hundreds of supporting files. The model opens in Simulink® and an overview opens in your web browser. Wait for the overview to open to help you explore subsystems and the construction of the model. The overview also gives you more detailed information about the simulation results.


Explore Project

In the main model, you can configure the battery model to have the right level of detail for the engineering task by changing the Active Choice of the Battery subsystem. You can also use test harness models to explore designs for the battery packs and the cooling system.

You can determine the size for the battery pack by parameterizing the battery model and using parameter sweeps. You can then select an appropriate cell, build the battery pack, and design the cooling system, using the results of your analysis.

Chassis and Propeller

Look under the mask of the VTOL Aircraft subsystem. This subsystem models the aircraft chassis and propellers. Eight shafts from the electric motors drive the propellers which generate the thrust to lift the aircraft. Each propeller connects to an Inertia block that models the inertia from the chassis, battery, and payload. This subsystem also models the ground contact and aerodynamic drag.

Battery Capacity and Payload

Click the 240 W*hr/kg link on the top-level model canvas to generate this plot. The plot shows the effect of battery capacity and payload on the flight range of the aircraft. If you set the energy density to 240 W*hr/kg, the flight range for an 80 kg payload is above 25 km when the battery capacity is 180 A*hr.

Battery Pack Configuration

Click the Battery Pack Builder link on the top-level model canvas to open an example that shows you how to model a battery pack with electrical and thermal connections.

Battery Pack Model

In the Battery subsystem of the top-level model, open successive Subsystem blocks to explore the arrangement of packs and modules of the different battery variants. This figure shows how some of the modules are connected in the Pack subsystem of the Lumped BCs variant. This subsystem models four modules connected in series. Each module has a single connection to a Temperature Source block that models the ambient temperature and an array of independent thermal connections to the cooling plate.

To find the latest examples from the MathWorks Simscape Team, see MathWorks Simscape Team on MATLAB Central.

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