BMW, Bosch, Volkswagen founding members of Quantum Technology and Application Consortium (QUTAC)
EPA to reconsider particulate matter NAAQS

eVTOL company Vertical Aerospace logs up to 1,000 pre-orders valued at up to $4B

Vertical Aerospace, developer of the VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft (earlier post), announced investments from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, who have invested in the PIPE and are part of Vertical’s strategic partner ecosystem; Microsoft’s M12, 40 North and Rocket Internet SE have also invested in the business.

Commercial partnerships and individual conditional pre-orders have also been agreed with American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon for up to 1,000 aircraft in total—valued at up to $4 billion—providing a direct route to market and opportunity to work together on key go-to-market workstreams.

American has agreed to pre-order, subject to certain conditions precedent and future agreed upon milestones, up to 250 aircraft, and an option to order an additional 100 aircraft. Avolon has agreed to pre-order up to 310 aircraft with an option for a further 190, and Virgin Atlantic has an option to purchase between 50 and 150 aircraft.

Vertical has entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination with Broadstone Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The transaction will result in Vertical becoming a publicly-traded company, with a pro forma equity value of approximately $2.2 billion. Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the combination, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021, under the ticker EVTL.

The VA-X4 is a piloted, electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle. The VA-X4 will be capable of traveling a more than 200 mph, with a range of more than 100 miles and capacity for 4 passengers and the pilot. The aircraft takes off vertically enabling it to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations.

The VA-X4 is expected to be certified to the same standards as large commercial airliners and therefore is expected to be 100x safer than a helicopter. Vertical intends to certify the VA-X4 to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards in order to unlock a large urban air mobility (UAM) total addressable market (TAM) of $1 trillion by 2040, with an upside TAM of $4.4 trillion by 2040 (according to Morgan Stanley).

Vertical’s ecosystem approach draws on R&D commitments and the commercial and manufacturing expertise of partners such as Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, GKN and Solvay alongside an in-house focus on high value-add design and proprietary technology, creating an asset-light business model with highly attractive unit economics.

Comments

Davemart

I can't find anything at all on what batteries they intend to use, which is the critical component.

Emphyrio

Neither the FAA or EASA are going to certify batteries until they have real world reliability test data to demonstrate achievement of required MTBF. 10 to the minus 9. Simulations are not acceptable. The eVTOL people are makig noises of using automotive data - where the power demands are way lower and eVTOL are talking of replacing the packs 4 times a year - compared to never for a car. How can the two environments be comparable? Not. Plus battery tech keeps changing - which one specifically are each eVTOL company going to certify? Plus your best specific energy candidate, LiS from Oxis has just gone down the tubes.

gryf

Probably commercial 18650 cells. This is based on other eVTOL like the Joby S4 (560 hp, 6 rotors, 200 mile range) and Archer eVTOL (60 mile range, 143 kWh battery).
Dr. Limhi Somerville, head of Battery design at Vertical, worked at Jaguar Land Rover and at Warwick University (another Vertical partner). Other Vertical execs worked at Rolls and other aerospace companies, i.e. no battery industry execs.
Battery design may borrow from Rolls ACCEL program which has a 6000 cell 216 kWh battery and 750 kW power. Also, you could take eight Rolls SP70D motors (90 kW peak power) for the liftoff power to keep everything standard commercial.

gryf

Check out "Electric Power Systems developing certified battery solution for electric aircraft" eVTOL, Sunday May 16, 2021 (https://evtol.com/news/electric-power-systems-eps-epic-evtol-battery-solution/). FAA has adapted Part 23 for electric aviation. The Pipistrel Alpha Electro has experimental certifications from FAA and other international aviation regulators.

Davemart

Many thanks for your excellent research as usual, gryf!
I don't know how you manage to dig them out.
Any tips on your searches? I use google advanced, but don't find many of the links you do.

On the subject, here is an article from the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-57447564

I particularly like this:

' "There's a lot of hype in this market," Vertical Aerospace president Michael Cervenka told the BBC.

"We have taken the approach that is pushing the bounds of what is available in terms of technology, but not going beyond."'

And:

' He said the company's goals could be achieved with today's technology rather than hoping for the invention of a "magical new battery".'

Their credibility just went way up, for this observer.

mahonj

If you think of it, there are three new technologies here:
Electric flight
Personal vertical takeoff vehicles
Autonomous flight.
That is quite a lot of new stuff.
They made a good decision to drop the autonomous bit and just concentrate on the electric and vertical bits.
Note that the Pipistrel Alpha Electro is a light aircraft. If its battery fails, it becomes a glider with a steepish glide angle.
If an eVtol's battery fails in vertical mode, it becomes a brick with an almost vertical glide angle (so you have to be very careful with quality).

gryf

Thanks Davemart:
I use a several data mining tools in Google (Google Scholar, Google Patents, Translate). Do not limit search to English language or sources. Review Government publications, corporate websites, LinkedIn. Techniques developed when I was a consultant going back to 2001 for a client in Japan.

@Mahonj:
Good point about eVTOL which is the reason my estimation of an optimum eVTOL would be a Slowed Rotor Compound Helicopter like the PA-890 eVTOL or the Beta Technologies Alia-250C (both have wings).

SJC

Their aircraft design is a bit big and heavy

The comments to this entry are closed.