Why Rolls-Royce's Flying Electric Taxis Aren't As Far Off As You Think

Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are part of a trending sector ripe with innovation and development. Companies like Porsche, in partnership with Boeing, Bell Nexus, and Hyundai are just some of the big names investing in eVTOLs. These unique aircraft come in all shapes and sizes, though some are more functional and show better potential than others. 

Regardless of any given model's specific design, the essence of the eVTOL movement permeates throughout the sector: green energy, revolutionary futuristic design, and innovative mobility. Unlike their larger, traditional counterparts, eVTOLs promise zero emissions by utilizing all-electric engines, not to mention their very low sound contamination, all while helping cut down on increasingly problematic big city traffic.

While the technology is still under development and too expensive to go mainstream, things are getting interesting. According to Markets and Markets, eVTOLs are already a reality, having boasted a valuation of $8.5 billion in 2021, a figure that is projected to reach $30.8 billion by 2030. One of the most interesting eVTOL projects at the moment comes from Rolls-Royce in partnership with Vertical Aerospace.

eVTOLs will revolutionize big city travel

On December 16, 2021, Vertical Aerospace announced it would begin listing on the New York Stock Exchange, marking another major milestone for the company. In that same year, the company received up to 1,350 pre-orders for its VA-X4 aircraft from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow, and Iberojet. The power behind the flying machine? A Rolls-Royce all-electric engine.

Rolls-Royce explains its innovative all-electric technology will allow the VA-X4 to carry up to four passengers at top speeds of 200 miles per hour. The company's power system includes 100kW lift-and-push electric propulsion units, power distributions, and monitoring systems. The craft is expected to be certified by 2024. The eVTOL brings all the innovations of electric engines, vertical lift-off, and landing technology, but builds on the established helicopter industry, a market valued at $52.56 billion in 2021 and forecasted to grow to $69.20 billion in 2028 (via Fortune Business Insight).

Aircraft like Rolls-Royce's eVTOL can utilize the helicopter infrastructure that is already in place throughout the world. This includes all types of helipads, landing areas in airports, built-in operating air traffic and coordination, and an established certification, regulation, safety, and passenger system. The innovation of a new company like Vertical Aerospace combined with the excellence and engineering mastery of Rolls-Royce and the expertise of the airline industry is a perfect match for success.