MARKET UPDATE - 20/09/2022 - ⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
EVE AIR MOBILITY | UNITED AIRLINES | UNITED AIRLINES VENTURES
United Airlines announced "a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft plus 200 options, expecting the first deliveries as early as 2026" as well as a $15m USD investment in Eve Air Mobility via the United Airlines Ventures corporate VC fund.
The companies will also work in partnership on "future projects, including studies on the development, use and application of Eve’s aircraft and the urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem."
United will also participate in Eve's upcoming UAM test project in Chicago this month:
AIRBUS | HIRATAGAKUEN
"Through this agreement, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will tackle crucial aspects required to launch a commercial transportation service with CityAirbus NextGen. As a major first step, the partners’ joint project to organise a simulation of ideal routes, concepts of operations and necessary equipment for safe eVTOL flights in the Kansai region, has been selected by the Osaka prefecture, with a demonstration flight scheduled for later this year.
With the aim to implement air mobility services beyond urban environments, the joint work of Airbus and Hiratagakuen will support the development of advanced air mobility solutions with CityAirbus NextGen, for use cases ranging from air medical services to commercial air transport and ecotourism in a variety of operational contexts. To reach this objective, and with the support of local stakeholders, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operations of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s flight configuration."
Australia's AMSL Aero have raised $23m AUD / $15.5m USD in Series B funding from investors including the TelstraSuper pension fund, the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund, IP Group Australia and one of Australia's largest superannuation funds - Hostplus.
The company's 'Vertiia' eVTOL air ambulance / taxi "can travel up to 250 kilometres using battery power, [and] is also equipped to use hydrogen as a fuel source, giving the aircraft the potential to exceed 1000 kilometres.
AMSL Aero intends to manufacture the aircraft, but not operate them.
The start-up already has contracts with the Australian Department of Defence, via the Defence Innovation Hub, as well as a partnership with air medical organisation Careflight. It also has a memorandum of understanding with Qantas":
(via Australian Financial Review).
Jetson Aero revealed that the company had secured $8m of a $10m seed funding round, with lead investors named as Luca Spada, Nik Robinson and Rikard Steiber. The company have also setup an R&D and 'limited production' facility in Tuscany. 75% of the 500+ customers with reservations are in the US - the business will establish a presence there "next year":
Geely subsidiary (and Volocopter joint venture partner) Aerofugia unveiled (very quietly, outside of China at least) a significantly revised design for their five-seat TF-2 passenger carrying eVTOL prototype:
The US government's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency ('DARPA') launched a new AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane program - nicknamed 'ANCILLARY'. The programme targets military use of commercial eVTOL technologies in a new UAS platform.
"A large non-traditional commercial industry base has fueled recent VTOL research investments and advanced controls leading to innovative vehicle configurations spanning size, weight, power, and cost. Advancements in small propulsion systems, high capacity low weight batteries, fuel cells, materials, electronics, and low-cost additive manufacturing can now enable new architectures and designs to be explored in this trade space."
Interested parties should contact the ANCILLARY programme manager Steve Komadina: and/or contact DARPA through the associated 'Proposers Day' event scheduled for September 20th:
AIRSPACE EXPERIENCE TECHNOLOGIES
China's Volant Aerotech, founded in Shanghai by COMAC veterans just last year, revealed both a mockup of their full-size eVTOL aircraft as well as the identity of more their financial backers - who include Chinese venture capital funds Qinsong Fund, Shunwei Capital and Welight Capital alongside French VC fund Ventech:
Japan's SkyDrive are reported to have setup a temporary office presence in the small city of Beaufort, South Carolina (via Aviation Pros).
VERTIPORTS / INFRASTRUCTURE
An article revealed some details of Beta Technologies' electric aircraft charging network - that will work for both aircraft and ground vehicles. Accessible already through this app, there appear to be nine (of ten) chargers live at time of writing, with "an additional few dozen in the permitting or construction stage." The company's strategy is to focus on "the East Coast in locations where organizations that have made purchase agreements operate."
BETA TECHNOLOGIES | SKYPORTZ
"Leading electric aircraft developer Beta Technologies, will provide battery charging infrastructure which will be suitable for almost any aircraft that may utilize the vertiport."
(via Vertical Mag).
"...focus on locations that optimize multimodal transportation connectivity, including Mirabel Helico, St-Hubert Airport and major agglomerations such as Quebec City, Ottawa-Gatineau, Sherbrooke, Drummondville, Mont-Tremblant, Trois-Rivières, Ste-Marie de Beauce and Rivière-du-Loup, as well as the network of airports in the north region of Québec operated by Transports Québec":
The network will also incorporate cross-border "air mobility corridors" between the Canadian Province and the neighbouring United States, with the first international test flights planned for 2023 (via Vports).
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
EVIATION | GLOBAL CROSSING AIRLINES
"50 all-electric commuter Alice aircraft. The aircraft will open up new routes for passenger travel in GlobalX’s key markets in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, supporting the airline’s plan to adopt carbon-free and sustainable technologies.":
AMPAIRE | ELECTRIC POWER SYSTEMS
Ampaire selected Electric Power Systems to be the exclusive provider of propulsion batteries for the company's hybrid-electric 'Eco Caravan':
DUXION | DYMOND GROUP
Canada's Duxion announced the signing of an MoU with Dymond Group that incorporates the supply of "20 eJet motors™ per year for ten years starting in 2026 for a total purchase of $500 million CAD" for use in unmanned cargo aircraft to be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
"The eJet motors™ for this application will be capable of producing 8,000+ lbs of thrust, similar to the thrust produced by the engines of 50-passenger CRJ100 aircraft.
Duxion will take on a new 70,000 sqft hangar space...sized to have sufficient capacity to perform eJet motor™ retrofits for traditional jet fuel aircraft outside of the Dymond partnership":
Electra Aero announced that the company had "successfully completed a fully integrated test of the proprietary hybrid-electric propulsion system for its low-carbon emissions, electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft, moving Electra closer to leveraging its hybrid engine technology to significantly reduce aircraft emissions, noise, and operating costs.
Testing of the hybrid-electric system took place at Electra's propulsion development facility in Switzerland. Electra's hybrid system uses a combination of high-power battery packs and a turbogenerator to power eight electric motors and propellers":
(via Electra Aero).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
AIR CANADA | HEART AEROSPACE | SAAB
Sweden's Heart Aerospace announced a new airplane design - the now 30-seat and hybrid-electric ES-30 replaces the all electric 19-seat ES-19. Saab and Air Canada were both announced as new minority shareholders, each investing $5m USD, with the latter also placing a conditional order for 30 x ES-30 aircraft which now have a range of 200km all-electric / 400km extended / max. 800km if only 25 passengers on board.
"Previous orders for Heart Aerospace’s ES-19 electric airplane, placed by United Airlines and Mesa Air Group for a total of 200 electric aircraft with an option for an additional 100 planes, are reconfirmed for the updated ES-30 design"
"In addition to those commitments, many of the ES-19 letters of intent (LOI) holders have already updated their respective letters to reflect the ES-30. These include the Nordic airlines Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA), Icelandair and SAS as well as New Zealand’s Sounds Air. Rockton, a Swedish-based lessor who has made it their mission to focus on sustainable solutions for the Industry, has just signed an LOI...for up to 40 airplanes.
In total, Heart Aerospace has LOIs for 96 ES-30s.
The ES-30 is expected to enter into service in 2028":
(via Heart Aerospace).
HEART AEROSPACE | ROCKTON
Swedish aircraft lessor Rockton signed a Letter of Intent with Heart Aerospace "to acquire up to 40" of the company's just announced ES-30 aircraft:
HEART AEROSPACE | ICELANDAIR
Icelandair signed an LOI with heart Aerospace "for the option to add their [ES-30] electric aircraft to Icelandair’s domestic fleet" and joined the company's 'Industry Advisory Group' (via Icelandair Group).
HEART AEROSPACE | SAS
SAS signed a 'Letter of Support' with Heart Aerospace "for the option to add their new electric aircraft, ES-30 to the SAS regional aircraft fleet" and confirmed it will join the company's Industry Advisory Board to "assist in defining the requirements for the ES-30 aircraft":
HEART AEROSPACE | SÄVE AIRPORT
Heart Aerospace confirmed the company will establish production, office and flight test facilities at Saäve Airport near Gothenburg, Sweden (which closed to commercial traffic in 2015) as part of a planned 'Northern Runway' campus. The project will be a part of property fund Castellum's 'Gateway Säve' project:
(via Heart Aerospace).
Heart Aerospace announced an 'Industry Advisory Board' whose 21 partner members "will assist in defining the requirements for the ES-30":
(via Heart Aerospace).
BLUE ISLANDS | PORTS OF JERSEY | UNIVERSAL HYDROGEN
British regional airline Blue Islands and Ports of Jersey have entered into an agreement with Universal Hydrogen, with the intent (subject to conditions) to purchase 5 x ATR72 hydrogen fuel cell conversion kits for use on Channel Island flight operations: