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The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) announced that it has now cataloged its 300th electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in its World eVTOL Aircraft Directory.
“Electric VTOL aircraft hold out the promise of being much safer, cheaper, cleaner and quieter,” said VFS executive director Mike Hirschberg. “The development of these aircraft is part of a larger global trend to support investment in sustainable aviation that continues in spite of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
The Society’s Electric VTOL News website catalogues all known eVTOL aircraft; this directory now includes more than 300 eVTOL aircraft concepts — a leap of 50 aircraft since January — representing some 215 different companies/developers. These 300 entries include everything from conceptual studies and defunct projects to aircraft that are currently being flown for certification testing. For the past 30 months, the VFS World eVTOL Aircraft Directory has grown at a steady pace of 100 entries per year — an average of two new eVTOL aircraft concepts are added each week.
Some $4 billion has gone into exploring the transformative potential of eVTOL aircraft since VFS held the world’s first meeting of the eVTOL development community in 2014, which was a launch pad for what the society sees as an “electric VTOL revolution.”
Much of the approximately $1 billion in annual funding for eVTOL aircraft for passenger and cargo urban air mobility (UAM) and other advanced air mobility (AAM) missions is coming from outside of the traditional aerospace industry. For example, Toyota Motor Corporation has invested some $394 million in U.S.-based Joby Aviation (bringing total outside investment to $720 million) and Hyundai Motor has pledged to invest $1.5 billion in its UAM efforts. In Germany, Lilium has now raised $376 million from investors like Baillie Gifford, Tencent and Atomico, while Volocopter has received $140 million, largely from transportation companies like Daimler, Geely and DB Schenker.
Next week, on July 28-30, VFS is co-sponsoring the Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS), organized by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation. The 14th Annual EAS will be a virtual symposium with three-dozen speakers. The 12 panel discussions will cover not just eVTOL aircraft, but also recent electric conventional (eCTOL) and short takeoff and landing aircraft (eSTOL) aircraft developments. Other expert panels will discuss battery-electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen fuel cell power; test and certification; market dynamics and two first-mover electric-aviation markets.