MARKET UPDATE - 05/04/2022 - ⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
AIR GREENLAND | AVOLON | VERTICAL AEROSPACE
Avolon now have conditional lease / purchase agreements in place for all 500 of the VX4 aircraft they signed up for with Vertical Aerospace in June '21 (and 50 more besides). It follows new orders from:
Turkish aviation group Gözen Holding - for lease or purchase of 50 aircraft, with option on up to 50 more, plus a partnership with Avolon-e to develop a Turkish Urban Air Mobility (UAM) platform
Air Greenland - to lease / purchase an unspecified number of VX4 aircraft, size of fleet to be determined through working group with Avolon that will assess size and nature of the market opportunity, map out certification and infrastructure requirements:
Skyports raised an additional $23m USD in funding, the "first close of its Series B". Existing institutional investors "all participated" including:
Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures - corporate venture capital arm of Europe's largest railway operator and infrastructure owner
New investors in this round were named as:
2i Aeroporti - "Italy’s largest airport platform" - a holding company backed by F2i (Italy's largest independent infrastructure fund with €6bn+ AUM) & France's Ardian (global infrastructure investor with €20bn+ in AUM)
Goodman Group - Australian commercial / industrial property developer / owner with c. $16bn in assets worldwide, particular interest in logistics space
GreenPoint - NY based venture capital and private equity fund manager, focused on intersection of 'real assets' (real estate, infrastructure, energy, agriculture) and tech
Proceeds will be used to accelerate work with leading air taxi manufacturers, scale drone services operations (in both new & existing markets) and build on "active operations in the UK, Europe and Asia" (via Skyports).
EASA published prototype, non-binding technical specifications for vertiport design, that included proposals for novel "obstacle-free volume" approach procedures, developed specifically for eVTOL aircraft:
BLUEBERRY AVIATION | DUFOUR AEROSPACE
Swiss Dufour Aerospace signed a global sales and marketing agreement with Monte Carlo based helicopter sales specialists Blueberry Aviation. The deal also includes an order for 100 x Aero2 (hybrid-electric, remotely piloted 40kg payload, 400km / 216nm range) and 100 x Aero3 (piloted, 2800kg MTOW / 8 pax, 551nm / 1,020km range) aircraft.
Blueberry will support placement of aircraft and setup funding or leasing vehicles, to include helicopter trade-in for Dufour products (via Dufour Aerospace).
CAA (UK) | EVE | HEATHROW AIRPORT | NATS | LONDON CITY AIRPORT | SKYPORTS | VERTICAL AEROSPACE | VOLOCOPTER
The UK Urban Air Mobility Consortium, led by Eve, published their Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for integrating UAM in the UK. The London-centric case study looked at the movement of passengers around a vertiport network that includes (project participants) Heathrow and London City airports:
ELROY AIR | FEDEX
LIFT AIRCRAFT | QARBON AEROSPACE
Qarbon Aerospace delivered their first HEXA eVTOL to LIFT Aircraft. The carbon fibre structure was manufactured at their facility in Thailand, with final assembly and systems integration completed at their facility in Texas:
HYUNDAI | SUPERNAL
Hyundai (including through their Supernal subsidiary) are reported to be working on a hydrogen fuel cell eSTOL aircraft for longer, regional mobility missions that their planned battery-electric eVTOL SA-1 will be unable to service. Yesh Premkumar (Sr. Lead, Global Partnership and Business Development at Supernal) outlined the plans at a Vertical Flight Society event in Long Beach.
Range will reportedly be 200 - 1,000 km (120 - 620 miles) with entry into service not expected before 2030. The company already produce some 10,000 hydrogen fuel cells per year for use in ground vehicles, sold globally. Work on the hydrogen fuel cell aircraft will predominantly be undertaken in South Korea by a new subsidiary the ‘Korea Advanced Air Mobility’ unit.
EVE URBAN AIR MOBILITY
Eve held their investor day on March 25th - full event video is embedded below:
Joby Aviation published Q4 2021 financial results and accompanying shareholder letter on March 24th. The company spent more than $250m USD in 2021. Income from investments offset some of this to leave the company with a net $180m loss for the fiscal year. Joby have $1.3bn in cash or equivalents on hand, of which they expect to spend $340-60m in 2022 on "operating activities and purchases of property and equipment".
It was also reported that the company are using at least two automated fibre placement (AFP) machines from France's Coriolis Composites as they continue work on the setup of aircraft production capability:
SKYDRIVE | SUZUKI
SEA WORLD HELICOPTERS | SKYPORTZ
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
BYE AEROSPACE | CRANE AEROSPACE & ELECTRONIC
Bye Aerospace selected 4kW DC-DC high power converters from Crane Aerospace & Electronics for use in their eFLyer 2 Series aircraft. Crane supply similar converters to Eviation for their Alice aircraft, and are partnering with BAE Systems to assess power needs for Jaunt Air Mobility's aircraft (via Bye Aerospace):
CRANFIELD AEROSPACE | HYDROGEN ONE | SAFRAN
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions received a total of £10m of new investment. £7m came from HydrogenOne Capital Growth and c. £3m from Safran Corporate Ventures. The company will focus initially on CAA certification of the Britten-Norman Islander aircraft in the UK, now with a hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain but still under the ‘Project Fresson’ name (via CAES).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
GE | US ARMY
GE Aviation have been awarded a $5.1m USD contract by the US Army to fund further development of hybrid-electric engine technologies. More specifically the money comes from U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Army Research Laboratory (DEVCOM ARL) and is to support tech that will be applicable for the Future Vertical Lift programme - that eventually seeks to find replacements for the Apache, BlackHawk, Chinook and Kiowa helicopters (via GE).
GLOYER-TAYLOR TECHNOLOGIES | HYPOINT
Hydrogen fuel cell system developers HyPoint are partnering with Glower-Taylor Laboratories (GTL) to integrate the latter's ultra-lightweight carbon composite BHL™ Cryotank liquid hydrogen fuel tanks with the former's hydrogen fuel cell system:
"Based on our internal analysis of a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q300, which seats 50 to 56 passengers, the standard PW123B engine would typically support a range of 1,558 kilometers. By implementing HyPoint's system and a standard liquid hydrogen tank, the same aircraft could achieve five hours of flight time or a max range of 2,640 kilometers. With GTL's tank, it could fly for 8.5 hours or a max range of 4,488 kilometers, indicating that this aircraft could fly three times further with zero emissions by using HyPoint and GTL compared with conventional aviation fuel," Sergei Shubenkov, Co-founder and Head of R&D at HyPoint:
ELECTRIC AVIATION GROUP | SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS
Spirit AeroSystems were reported to have signed a "term sheet in principle" with the UK's Electric Aviation Group "to collaborate on the development of technologies to support zero-emission flight" (via EAG).
ZEROAVIA | ZEV STATION
ZeroAvia announced a partnership with California startup ZEV Station that will see the two companies collaborate on hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at airports in California, starting with a proof-of-concept facility at a regional airport, of "sufficient scale to showcase how hydrogen-electric propulsion systems can deliver zero-emission commercial flights":