Taylor Rains,Stephen JonesSep 10, 2022, 18:06 IST

United just ordered 200 more flying taxis — see inside Embraer’s Eve eVTOL, which can fly up to 150 mph

  • United Airlines has ordered 200 of Eve Air Mobility’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
  • The flying taxi is designed to transport passengers between city centers and airports to avoid roadway traffic.

United Airlines seems confident eVTOLs — electrically powered vertical take-off and landing vehicles — will be the future of short-haul, urban flights.

United Airlines seems confident eVTOLs — electrically powered vertical take-off and landing vehicles — will be the future of short-haul, urban flights.

Eve envisages the aircraft will operate in cities like London.Eve Air Mobility

On Thursday, United announced it has paid $15 million to secure a conditional prepurchase agreement for 200 electric flying taxis being developed by Eve Air Mobility (EAM), the startup founded by Brazilian planemaker Embraer.

On Thursday, United announced it has paid $15 million to secure a conditional prepurchase agreement for 200 electric flying taxis being developed by Eve Air Mobility (EAM), the startup founded by Brazilian planemaker Embraer.

United Airlines

United expects to receive the first deliveries of the electric Eve by 2026, despite the fact the eVTOL is yet to be certified by aviation regulators.

United expects to receive the first deliveries of the electric Eve by 2026, despite the fact the eVTOL is yet to be certified by aviation regulators.

Eve Air Mobility

Certification will be a complex process as the urban air mobility industry still lacks regulatory oversight, robust infrastructure, and an air traffic management plan, among other hurdles.

Certification will be a complex process as the urban air mobility industry still lacks regulatory oversight, robust infrastructure, and an air traffic management plan, among other hurdles.

A mock-up of a Skyport vertiport that is creating infrastructure for eVTOLs.Skyports

“You’re operating at lower levels,” Simon Whalley of Skyports, a UK startup working to develop a network of vertiports, told Insider.

"You're operating at lower levels," Simon Whalley of Skyports, a UK startup working to develop a network of vertiports, told Insider.

Singapore-based Ascent has invested in Eve Air Mobility.Eve Air Mobility

“You’re close to people, you’re close to buildings,” he continued. “So, you’re dealing with things like visual and sound blight, for example. All those things are going to have to be taken into consideration by the industry.”

"You're close to people, you're close to buildings," he continued. "So, you're dealing with things like visual and sound blight, for example. All those things are going to have to be taken into consideration by the industry."

Skyports is developing a network of Vertiports, including a proposed hub at Cergy-Pontoise, outside Paris.Skyports

However, the Federal Aviation Administration and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority have started “discussions focused on facilitating certification and validating new eVTOL aircraft, production, continued airworthiness, operations, and personnel licensing.”

However, the Federal Aviation Administration and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority have started "discussions focused on facilitating certification and validating new eVTOL aircraft, production, continued airworthiness, operations, and personnel licensing."

Joby Aviation’s eVTOL.Joby Aviation

Thursday’s announcement makes United the first major airline to invest in two separate eVTOL companies, Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said in a press release.

Thursday's announcement makes United the first major airline to invest in two separate eVTOL companies, Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said in a press release.

United has invested in Eve and Archer. Pictured is Archer Aviation’s “Maker” prototype, though the airline has purchased “Midnight,” which is not built yet.Archer Aviation

The vehicles are designed to travel at low altitudes on short-haul flights in urban areas, and designers expect airlines and tour operators to use them to transfer passengers between city hubs and airports.

The vehicles are designed to travel at low altitudes on short-haul flights in urban areas, and designers expect airlines and tour operators to use them to transfer passengers between city hubs and airports.

Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 on display at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Stephen Jones

Eve is being designed to travel distances of up to 60 miles and fly up to 150 miles per hour, according to the company. The flying taxi will cover 99% of intra-metro travel, EAM’s David Rottblatt told news outlet eVTOL in February.

Eve is being designed to travel distances of up to 60 miles and fly up to 150 miles per hour, according to the company. The flying taxi will cover 99% of intra-metro travel, EAM's David Rottblatt told news outlet eVTOL in February.

Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: eVTOL

The cabin can seat up to four people in two rows facing each other.

The cabin can seat up to four people in two rows facing each other.

The cabin can carry four passengers.Eve Air Mobility

The cockpit is separate from the passenger seats.

The cockpit is separate from the passenger seats.

The cockpit has room for one pilot.Stephen Jones / Insider

The mockup had limited flight controls, like a display screen…

The mockup had limited flight controls, like a display screen...

The screen inside the cockpit of the EVE eVTOL.Stephen Jones / Insider

…and a small control stick. However, the company told Insider that the design is likely to change after flight testing.

...and a small control stick. However, the company told Insider that the design is likely to change after flight testing.

It’s similar to the joy stick seen on conventional helicopters.Stephen Jones / Insider

Aerospace company Thales will develop the avionics, flight controls, navigation, and other systems in Eve.

Aerospace company Thales will develop the avionics, flight controls, navigation, and other systems in Eve.

Eve Air Mobility cockpit.Eve Air Mobility

Eve also has the potential to reduce noise levels by as much as 90%, United said in a statement.

Eve also has the potential to reduce noise levels by as much as 90%, United said in a statement.

Eve will have eight rotors allowing for vertical take off and landing.Eve Air Mobility

While the cabin on display was a mockup, Eve will use feedback from companies operating the vehicle to fine-tune the final design, Flavia Ciaccia, Vice President of User Experience and Market Intelligence at Eve, told Insider.

While the cabin on display was a mockup, Eve will use feedback from companies operating the vehicle to fine-tune the final design, Flavia Ciaccia, Vice President of User Experience and Market Intelligence at Eve, told Insider.

The cockpit mockup ha limited flight controls.Stephen Jones / Insider

With an order book now exceeding 2,000 orders, the New-York listed Eve Air Mobility leads the way compared to other eVTOL makers.

With an order book now exceeding 2,000 orders, the New-York listed Eve Air Mobility leads the way compared to other eVTOL makers.

Concept of Eve eVTOL landing and take-off spot.Eve Air Mobility

EAM is hoping to start deliveries of the eVTOL by 2026 and receive certification before then, Ciaccia told Insider.

EAM is hoping to start deliveries of the eVTOL by 2026 and receive certification before then, Ciaccia told Insider.

The small electric-powered craft will be used for inner-city travel.Stephen Jones / Insider

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