MARKET UPDATE - 08/02/2022 - ⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
FLAPPER | JAUNT AIR MOBILITY
Latin American flight sharing specialists Flapper signed an LOI with Jaunt Air Mobility (whose merger with The AIRO Group is set to complete soon) for the purchase of up to 25 of the company's 'Jaunt Journey' eVTOL aircraft. It adds to existing agreements Flapper have signed with Eve, Skyportz and Electra Aero and MagniX (via Business Wire):
JOBY AVIATION | SK TELECOM
South Korea's largest mobile network operator SK Telecom (subsidiary of one of the country's largest chaebol multinationals - SK Group - and participants in 'UAM Team Korea' alongside Hyundai) signed a collaboration agreement to bring aerial ride-sharing to the country in partnership with Joby Aviation. Leveraging the company's 'T Map' navigation system and mobility-as-a-service platform -being spun out as a Joint Venture in partnership with Uber. The T Map platform and associated smartphone apps cover not just ride hailing and mapping services but also electric vehicle charging, parking, public transit and freight services. The company's biggest competitor in the South Korean market is Kakao Mobility, who have partnered with Joby's rivals Volocopter and hold a reported c. 80% market share (via Joby, SK Telecom, TechCrunch):
KOREA TRANSPORT INSTITUTE | SK TELECOM
SK Telecom also announced this week the acceleration of work in partnership with the Korea Transport Institute (a think tank under the Prime Minister's office) to find vertiport locations and expanded their partnership to now also include tourism and emergency response services (via The Korea Herald).
Elroy Air unveiled their C1 Chaparral hybrid-electric, VTOL UAV that can deliver 300-500lbs of cargo over a 300-mile range. In-depth video here provides more details of the aerial logistics platform. Elroy claim to now have commitments for more than 500 aircraft from customers including AYR Logistics and Mesa Airlines (via Elroy Air, Business Wire):
HYPOINT | PIASECKI AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
Hydrogen fuel cell developers HyPoint are partnering with Piasecki Aircraft Corporation to bring to market a "turbo air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell system" for eVTOL aircraft. The partners are reported to have raised "...an initial US$ 6.5 million to develop five 650 kW hydrogen fuel cell systems, which will then [initially] be integrated into Piasecki’s PA-890" - reportedly making it "the world’s first manned hydrogen-powered helicopter" (via Piasecki):
Regent Craft raised an additional $18m USD in funding led by existing investors Thiel Capital and new investors Mesa Air (also investors in Archer Aviation and Heart Aerospace) whose investment comes alongside an intention to purchase 200 of the company's electric 'seagliders'. Other investors included JAM Fund, Toba Capital and Olive Tree Capital. On top of the $9m recently raised it takes total external capital raised to $27m USD (via Cision).
HRC | XPENG
Shanghai's HRC Composites (also known as Hengrui Corporation) have been publicly revealed as the composites supplier to Chinese electric car company Xpeng's HT Aero eVTOL spin-out. HRC "delivered more than 100 types of carbon fiber parts" for the X2 eVTOL prototype, which was on display at the Shanghai Expo in November '21 (via Composites World):
Czechia's Zuri unveiled a revised design for their now hybrid-electric Zuri 2.0 VTOL. The 3-4 passenger aircraft now features 8 tilting rotors and will also be available in a cargo variant. Both types are purported to have a 700+ km range and cruise at c. 300 km/h. A standard four-passenger, or VIP three-passenger configuration will be available, with the Zuri 2.0 Cargo said to have a 300kg useful payload capacity (via Transport UP, Zuri):
BETA TECHNOLOGIES | US ARMY
JOBY AVIATION | MICROHARD CORPORATION | SILVUS TECHNOLOGIES
Joby Aviation have sought permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for test flights over the San Francisco Bay Area, ostensibly to test radio equipment. We understand from this FCC filing that they'll specifically be testing Microhard Corporation's P400 and Silvus Technologies' SC4200 (via FCC, TechCrunch).
A Lilium test aircraft has arrived at the ATLAS Flight Test Center in Spain "...to continue its flight test campaign at higher speeds and over longer distances" under the auspices of new Chief Test Pilot Andy Strachan, formerly of Leonardo / AgustaWestland (via Lilium).
AVPORTS | JAUNT AIR MOBILITY
US airport manager / operator Avports signed an MoU with Jaunt Air Mobility that'll see the organisations work together on the integration of eVTOL aircraft into the aviation ecosystem, as part of Jaunt's 'Access Skyways' infrastructure alliance (via Jaunt Air Mobility).
LEONARDO | LVENTURE GROUP
AEROPORTI DI ROMA | LEONARDO
Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) signed a partnership agreement with Leonardo to help transform the former's airport assets into "smart hubs". Collaboration on Urban Air Mobility is specifically referenced, with the parties to work together on:
"...the development of infrastructure and interface requirements and for the study of issues relating to both the control of ground air traffic and the legal and regulatory aspects of in-flight operations."
AERINX | ORCA AEROSPACE
eVTOL developer Orca Aerospace and MRO tech startup AerinX have signed an agreement that will see the two Hungarian companies collaborate on eVTOL aircraft maintenance, presumably using the latter's mixed reality skin-inspection technology (via AVP).
AFWERX | SHIELD AI
US autonomous flight specialists Shield AI have won a contract from the US Air Force's AFWERX unit to develop their autonomous flight system. Initially the project will lead to operational swarming capabilities, but co-founder (and ex Navy SEAL) Brandon Tseng asserts that it "...is also a first step towards the integration of our Hivemind™ autonomy stack on commercial electric Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft" (via Yahoo! Finance).
British high-tech engineering outfit McLaren Applied are actively seeking customers for their 800V silicon carbide inverter technology in the aviation market, touting it as particularly suited to eVTOL applications (via Smart Aviation):
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
BYE AEROSPACE | FUYO GENERAL LEASE CO | JET CLUB | JET IT
Bye Aerospace provided an update on order and option agreements for their electric King Air competitor - the proposed twin-motor eFlyer 800 - totalling 135 aircraft. A denser 12-seat configuration is also being explored beyond the already touted 8-seater. The eFlyer range now boasts 732 paid deposits and 162 paid, time-limited purchase options in total, including fractional ownership club Jet It, and their European offshoot Jet Club - launch customers for the eFlyer 800 (via Bye Aerospace).
Bye Aerospace also announced an investment from Japan's Fuyo General Lease Co Ltd - the amount not being disclosed. Fuyo General Lease Co are also investors in Airbus Ventures Fund III, and as part of the wider Fuyo Group are part of one of Japan's major keiretsu, alongside Fuji Bank and Marubeni Corporation (via Bye Aerospace).
AIRFLOW AERO | EL AZUFRE
Sustainable Argentinian ski resort (in-the-making) 'El Azufre' have signed an LOI with AirFlow Aero for five of the company's eSTOL aircraft, to ferry customers back-and-forth to their clean energy village in the Andes mountains. They'll be powered by 'green hydrogen' produced on-site using geothermal energy, and the planes will reportedly be able to make the journey to the mountain resort from the popular Mendoza wine region in just 60 minutes (via AirFlow Aero):
ELECTRIC POWER SYSTEMS | VOLTAERO
France's VoltAero have selected Electric Power Systems' EPiC energy storage system - with a claimed energy density of 200Wh/kg at the pack level - for the company's prototype Cassio 330 hybrid-electric four-seat aircraft (via EPS, VoltAero):
AIR RACE E
Enontekiö Airport in Finland will be at the centre of a network of flight routes across Lapland and Norway that is set to test the commercial viability of electric aircraft - though initial trials will use conventionally fuelled aircraft operating with SAF (via YLE):
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
BOEING | GE | NASA
Boeing will work with GE to test a megawatt-class hybrid-electric engine as part of NASA's five-year, $260m Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) project. Aurora Flight Sciences will work with parent Boeing to modify:
"...a Saab 340B aircraft powered by GE CT7-9B turboprop engines. That work includes the manufacturing of the nacelle — the pod that holds the engine under the wing — flight deck software and interface design, tools to analyze the plane’s performance, and other systems integration."
(via GE Aviation):
AMELIA | UNIVERSAL HYDROGEN
French regional airline Amelia signed an LOI with Universal Hydrogen for the purchase of "three ATR 72-600 hydrogen conversion kits" plus the supply of hydrogen to fuel them, once installed (via Amelia, Business Wire):
AIRBORNE | VENTURI AVIATION
Aerospace composite specialists Airborne have signed an agreement with fellow Dutch company Venturi Aviation, that will see the two companies collaborate on manufacture of the company's recently unveiled design for a 44-seat, all-electric airliner - the Echelon 01 (via Airborne):
AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE | FLYZERO
The UK's Aerospace Technology Institute published a long-awaited report on zero-carbon aviation as part of the British government-backed FlyZero project. It included a proposed design for a zero-emission, 75-seat regional airliner with theoretical 800-mile range at 325 kts cruise, powered by fuel cells driving six electric motors, connected to liquid hydrogen stored in cryogenic tanks in the fuselage. Further details of three complete aircraft concepts coming out of the FlyZero project are expected to be published in March (via ATI):
In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury reportedly hinted that he could envisage the company's zero-emissions aircraft of the future being equipped with electric motors produced in-house:
"That's something we could basically do ourselves," Mr Faury was quoted as saying, speaking of a possible "change of strategy".