Comparative analysis of the main eVTOL aircraft in current development

The origin of the Urban Air Mobility demand:

We all spend hours to commute every day in every major city. The situation is currently quite concerning in cities like LA, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Tokyo, … With the forecasted growth of the worldwide population and the concentration of this population in urban areas, we are heading toward major Urban transportation problematics.  We are reaching the limits of our traditional bi-dimensional transport network and we need to act quickly and solve this looming problem. The practical solution is to optimize the transportation infrastructure using three dimensional highways and below are the current technologies in development:

Autonomous driving technologies for ground Vehicles:

The development of autonomous driving technologies for ground vehicles is one of the solutions of the transportation problematic. With this new technology, cars won’t need to park in the city but will just drive through, dropping passengers with an optimum efficiency. Forget about parking space as we won’t need to park anymore. Think about wider roads sized to face this growth of the population transport needs. The current model of owning a car might even disappear for group leasing solution or on demand transport service. This technology is not about providing a new transportation solution but to significantly optimize the efficiency of our bi-dimensional transportation network. To learn more, I highly recommend connecting with Teague, a company based in Seattle who is working with main corporations to help them apprehend future market changes and to facilitate their adaptation.

Tunneling technology development:

Solving this transportation problematic takinga three-dimensional approach and developing underground transportation solutions. One of the investors promoting this technologies is Elon Musk. After spending hours stuck in Los Angeles traffic, he decided to create The Boring company with the main objective to solve traffic jams by digging tunnels under LA. Elon Musk’s main challenge with this project remains to reduce the tunneling cost to make the business case viable on a large scale in metropolitan area. The company is working on tunneling technologies to reduce the digging time, one of the solutions being to design narrower tunnels using faster machines.

The Boring Company tunneling technology

Using the air space for our urban transportation needs:

The Urban Air Transportation solution is, on paper, a great solution for our future transportation needs in Cities. Even if the development of this solution is probably going to be slow due to various factors (regulation, technology, traffic control,…), the potential is very high.

The Urban Air Transportation experience:

Think about working downtown in a major city and leaving work during rush hour. You would go to the closest parking rooftop which has been transformed to accommodate the eVTOL air transport. After waiting just a few minutes, you are traveling on board of your electric aircraft avoiding traffic and getting home more relaxed. What about the cost? You would pay as much as an Uber or a Lyft fare going the same distance.


The Urban Air Transport market:

According to Porsche Consulting, Inc., the Urban Air Transportation market is estimated to reach 32B$ by 2035.

Porsche consulting – Vertical Mobility market size

Currently, we are seeing multiple Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft being designed in different countries (see main actors comparative analysis below). The supply chain is currently not established because of the new type of requirements coming with the design of these aircraft. Current VTOL manufacturers are indeed analyzing solutions coming from different industries including traditional aerospace suppliers. With high volume, low cost and high safety standards, these new requirements create several new business opportunities for the years to come.

Urban Air Transportation Aircrafts:

On the current market, three  VTOL aircraft design models stand out:

Urban Air Mobility: The multirotor design

Volocopter multirotor design

This design has the advantage to have a shorter certification time. The German company Volocopter or their Chinese competitor EHang have already shown aircraft flying with a test pilot. They will probably be the first aircraft to hit the market with a target of late 2020 for the first delivery. The drawback of this solution is the limited range and a reduced speed in comparison with the other types of design.

Urban Air Mobility: The lift and Cruise

This design such as the Tilt design will have a slower certification process and should arrive on the market a bit later. Uber, Airbus, Lilium, are targeting 2023 for the first commercial flight in selected cities. The Lift & Cruise and Tilt solutions provide a more efficient design in cruise mode than the multirotor design which results in a higher range and speed.

Urban Air Mobility: The Tilt design

The Tilt solution is certainly the most optimized design. The propellers used for the vertical takeoff are the same than for the cruise. This results in a higher average speed than the two other designs which could be appreciated for city to city transportation.

Main Urban Air transport Aircrafts in development

Here are the main projects currently in development. The projects have different size, from university applied studies to 300 engineers start up backed by corporate or VC investments. We note the large number of all electric and hybrid solutions that are well adapted for this market. The current trend is to propose an all electric solution (aircraft will rely on a battery) for range under 100km and proposing the hybrid (gas turbine generating the electric power) version to increase that range.

Proposing an hybrid solution allows to have a better aircraft performance with today’s technology and have a system to swap to full electric in the futur. We note some innovative and challenging project with Fuel Cell powered aircrafts that have on the paper huge benefits but are extremely challenging (certification, safety).

Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike (defunct)0 USAHybrid
Joby Aviation Lotus (defunct)0 USAHybrid Electric
Aergility ATLIS0200milesUSAHybrid
Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle0 USA  
AgustaWestland Project Zero1 ITALYHybrid Electric
Opener BlackFly170kmUSAElectric
Cartivator SkyDrive1
EHang 1841 CHNElectric
Jetpack Aviation(unnamed)120minUSAElectric
Kitty Hawk
ManDrone1 NetherlandsElectric
PAV-UL Ultralight1
Bat 6002 GERElectric / hybrid
DeLorean Aerospace DR-72 USAElectric
Jetoptera J20002322kmUSATurbine
Joby Aviation S2 (defunct)2 USA 
VerdeGo Aero PAT2002 USAHybrid
Vertical Aerospace (unmanned)2 UKElectric
Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL2
EAC Whisper230minFranceElectric
Kitty Hawk
Astro AA360 (“Passenger Drone”)
Avianovations Hepard275/400km Electric/FC
EHang 2162 CHNElectric 
Pop.Up Next250kmFranceElectric 
Volocopter 2X2 GERElectric
VRCO NeoXCraft260minUKElectric
Workhorse SureFly270milesUSAHybrid
Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus2 FranceElectric
Aston Martin Volante3 UKHybrid Electric
Joby Aviation S44246kmUSAElectric
PteroDynamics Transwing4 USAElectric
Rolls-Royce EVTOL4800kmUKHybrid
Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor4500kmUSAHybrid
Vickers WAVE eVTOL4 NZElectric
Vimana (unnamed)4900kmUSAHybrid
Zenith Altitude EOPA4463kmCanadaHybrid
Embraer DreamMaker4 BrazilElectric 
Napoleon Aero VTOL4100kmRussiaElectric 
Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push4400kmUSAHybrid
AirisOne5200 milesBermuda
AirspaceX MOBi5104 kmUSAElectric
Starling Jet51500milesUKTurbine
HoverSurf Formula5450kmUSAHybrid
Ray Research VTOL Aircraft51800kmSwissHybrid
Axix SkyRider SuvA5 USAElectric
Carter Air Taxi6 USAElectric
XTI Aircraft Trifan 60061060kmUSAHybrid
Urban Aeronautics CityHawk9300kmIsraelHydrogen Engine
aeroG Aviation aG-412?USAHybrid Electric 
Vision VTOL1-2 USAElectric
Bartini Flying Car2/4150/550kmRussiaElectric/
Neoptera eOpter2-5 UK/FranceHybrid/ FC
KARI PAV4-550kmS KoreaElectric
Pipistrel (unnamed)2-6
Transcend Air Vy 4005-6450milesUSAHybrid
Kármán XK-12-8 USAElectric
Hi-Lite Lynx-us5-15550kmUSAHybrid
Bell Air TaxiNot annoucedNot annoucedUSANot annouced
A³ VahanaTBDTBDUSAElectric
Karem Butterfly  USA 
Piasecki eVTOL  USA 
SKYLYS Aircraft AO  USA  
Supervolant Pegasus  GER 

Other ressources on the topic

Free download of Uber VSP model:

If you want to start your own eVTOL project, we advise you to check on UBER’s website the technical datas that are available to the public. Here is one of our previous post commenting their VSP model.

EVTOL aircraft- Everything that you need to know

Here is an other article that will answer the main questions about eVTOL aircraft (technology, noise, range,…)

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