The electric air taxi industry is about to take off. No, really
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Aussie start-up AMSL Aero says “the world’s most efficient electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft” will be available to buy in 2023.
eVTOL – sometimes called ‘air taxis’ — are battery-powered aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter, but shift into faster, more efficient fixed-wing flight while cruising.
They have the potential to reduce a two-hour work commute to just 20 minutes, or replace rescue helicopters in rural or rough terrain.
AMSL Aero’s Vertiia eVTOL aircraft, designed for passenger and aeromedical transport, will cruise at 300km per hour: twice the speed of a helicopter, and similar to that of an airplane.
It is also far safer than a helicopter and significantly quieter – similar to a Tesla versus a regular car.
“Its low operating cost and high speed will reduce rural and regional road trips, reduce transport fatalities, and reduce the cost of maintaining and building new transport infrastructure,” Andrew Moore, founder & chief exec of AMSL Aero says.
“Vertiia’s use of hydrogen [in addition to electricity] will put us at the forefront of de-carbonised transport development globally.
“It will also provide air transport that is resistant to global oil price fluctuations and interruptions.”
Vertiia is currently piloted, but the team is working on making it autonomous to provide landing capabilities in low visibility and bad weather.
eVTOL’s are in advanced development all over the globe, mostly to reduce commute times in crowded cities.
Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace’s passenger model ‘VA-1X’ will be capable of carrying a pilot and four passengers for 160km at speeds of 240km per hour.
The company is aiming to certify in early 2024 and start initial commercial services shortly after.
The Lilium Jet – developed by Munich-based Lilium – will be powered by 36 electric engines and will be capable of traveling up to 300km per hour.
Lilium is one of a few bigger players, like Embraer, Uber Elevate, and Hyundai, which are also looking to develop the infrastructure networks designed to handle large numbers of eVTOL aircraft.
Uber is working to launch fleets of small, eVTOL aircraft in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, by 2023.
It looks pretty incredible.