Eve sees massive competitive advantages in partnership with Embraer
By Ben Forrest | August 10, 2022
Estimated reading time 8 minutes, 26 seconds.
Eve Air Mobility said it has kickstarted its eVTOL type certification application with Brazil’s aviation authority, and is trumpeting its partnership with aviation giant Embraer as it tries to develop a holistic urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem with plans to launch in 2026.
In a second-quarter earnings call — the first since Eve became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in May — the company also tried to allay concerns about a projected cash burn of roughly US$100 million per year in the lead-up to operations.
“Our long-term agreement with Embraer yields Eve an unmatched position of development capabilities and cost advantages,” said Jerry DeMuro, co-CEO of Eve. “The combination of Embraer’s partnership and our holistic approach to urban air mobility, along with superior aircraft design, have translated into what we believe to be the largest and most diversified order book for eVTOLs globally.”
Eve said it has a backlog of more than 2,000 non-binding orders for its four-passenger piloted eVTOL, which it plans to certify first with the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) and hopes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will fast-track approvals in the U.S.
Discussions are also underway with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other major certification authorities, said Andre Stein, who is also co-CEO of Eve.
“The Brazilian authorities have a long history of collaboration and bilateral agreements with the FAA, whereby it … validates the work done by ANAC, requiring only a few additional tests,” Stein said. “We believe this puts Eve on a clear path to certification, especially when combined with our simpler design, with fixed wings and lift-plus-cruise configuration.”
The Eve eVTOL is designed with eight horizontal rotors mounted parallel to the ground on two fixed wings atop the aircraft cabin. Two additional rotors are mounted on the aircraft tail, perpendicular to the ground, to provide forward thrust.
Eve’s cabin concept was unveiled with a full-sized mockup at the Farnborough International Airshow last month, and the company noted its four-passenger configuration may convert to six passengers when it is certified for autonomous flight.
“It showcases our approach to a human centered design, and reflects market needs, such as accessibility and safety perception, as well as our own emphasis on sustainability,” Stein said.
Article Continues Below
Eve sees its partnership with Embraer as a key advantage, in part because it provides the company with royalty-free access to Embraer’s intellectual property, and access to Embraer engineers on a flexible, first-priority basis.
“It means we do not have to create this workforce from scratch and shape it into a cohesive team,” DeMuro said. “It already exists, and we can scale up or down as needed. This arrangement means we do not have to carry these engineers … when not required.”
He also cited access to Embraer’s global infrastructure, including more than 80 service centers that can be “an important platform for our maintenance business in the future. There can be no eVTOL operation without a reliable and efficient customer support capability.”
Q2 financial results
Eve reported a net loss of US$11.8 million in the second quarter of 2022, mostly driven by higher research and development (R&D) and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) costs.
The company spent US$9.8 million on R&D in Q2, but was quick to note cash reserves of US$330.8 million, following a merger with Zanite Acquisition Corp. earlier this year that raised US$337 million.
Eduardo Couto, chief financial officer of Eve, pointed to major expected cost advantages from the agreement with Embraer, including access to engineers, intellectual property, and existing facilities.
“We feel extremely comfortable with our current cash position, as it gives Eve plenty of resources to maintain our eVTOL development for multiple years,” Couto said. “At this point, Eve has no debt on its balance sheet, which provides another avenue for financing operations, as well as cash from customer progress payments, once LOIs [letters of intent] are definitized as firm orders.”
Eve lists a non-binding backlog of 2,060 eVTOL orders from 22 customers, valued at over US$6 billion. The bulk of those orders (685 aircraft) are from helicopter operators, including Bristow, Nautilus Aviation and HeliSpirit.
Article Continues Below
An additional 590 are from airlines, including SkyWest Airlines, Republic Airways and Kenya Airways.
Lessors Falko and Azorra have non-binding orders for a combined 400 aircraft, while ride platforms Blade, Flapper, Ascent and HeliPass have expressed interest in 235 aircraft.
“No customer represents more than 10% of our order book,” DeMuro siad. “This serves to de-risk our business plan and brings confidence to our eVTOL program.”
The company said it anticipates spending roughly US$100 million in cash per year in the near term, though the actual number may vary.
“I believe the cash we have today — the US$330 million — it’s robust considering the pace of cash burn that we expect,” Couto said. “We have a lot of room, and a lot of cash to speed up our development, so we’re feeling very good.”