⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION - MARKET UPDATE - 13/01/2022
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
EVE | AZORRA | BAE SYSTEMS | FALKO | REPUBLIC AIRWAYS | ROLLS-ROYCE | SKYWEST | ZANITE
Embraer's Urban Air Mobility (UAM) spin-off Eve announced their intention to combine with Zanite Acquisition Corp and list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker 'EVEX'. The company claims a $5.2 billion USD in (non-binding) orders for 1,735 vehicles.
Subject to redemptions up to $237m USD of cash will be available via the SPAC vehicle, with a $305m PIPE anchored by parent Embraer (who retain a c. 82% controlling stake) and with additional contributions from a range of financial and strategic investors including BAE Systems, Brazilian investment bank Bradesco BBI, Falko Regional Aircraft, Republic Airways, Rolls-Royce and SkyWest. The deal values the business at $2.4 billion USD. Full details:
A slew of partnership / order announcements were simultaneously issued:
BAE Systems have invested $10m into Eve and UK based engineers from the company will work with Embraer Defence & Security in Brazil on a joint study to explore potential defence variants of Eve's eVTOL aircraft (via BAE, Eve)
British regional aircraft leasing specialists Falko signed an LOI "which contemplates a potential order for 200" aircraft "a commercial partnership to develop a global network of eVTOL operators" (via Eve, Falko)
US airline Republic Airways (a key regional feeder to Delta and United) signed an MOU and LOI to purchase up to 200 aircraft, as well as collaborate on initiatives such as flight training and exploring requirements for future Airline Operator Certificate holders (AOCs) operating Eve's eVTOL aircraft (via Eve)
North America's largest regional airline SkyWest (who fly under contract for Alaska, American, Delta and United) signed an MOU and (non-binding) LOI for up to 100 aircraft and will work in partnership with Eve on vehicle design, vertiport specifications and an eVTOL certification roadmap (via Eve)
BRISTOW | OVERAIR
Bristow signed an MOU with Overair that will see the company's partner on design and FAA certification work on the company's five passenger Butterfly eVTOL aircraft. The deal includes a pre-order from Bristow for 20-50 of the proposed aircraft (via Bristow, Overair, PR Newswire):
Joby Aviation completed the acquisition of Austrian radar systems developer Inras in December. Co-founder Andreas Stelzer is also Chair of the RF-Systems Department at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, where the 5-person Inras team will remain (via Joby Aviation).
The company also announced that their second pre-production prototype aircraft had received a special airworthiness certificate from the FAA and US Air Force (USAF) in December. The aircraft will begin flying this month and will service Joby's contract with the USAF's Agility Prime contract (via Joby Aviation).
eHang reported that they'd received the first order for their VT-30 lift-and-cruise "long-range electric passenger-grade AAV", though did not name the customer. The company also completed further demonstration flights in Fukushima and Okayama, Japan. Their EH216 multicopter demonstrated emergency rescue scenarios in "strong winds up to 27.5m/s at the Fukushima Robot Test Field" and carrying a 60kg payload at Karaoke Air Station, Okayama (via eHang):
The company also launched a 2,000 sq m '5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center' in Huangpu District's Innovation Park in Guangzhou - where eHang will operate their first urban air mobility pilot programme. The facility - complete with rooftop vertiport, hangar, charging facilities and automated car parking - is a joint venture with Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group (via eHang):
South Korea's Hanwha Aerospace are reported to be working on development of a hydrogen fuel cell system for use in Urban Air Mobility (UAM) applications. Working with a consortia of academic and SME partners they aim to secure core technologies by 2025, and to then "expand ...to electric propulsion systems for small- and medium-sized aircraft in the long term" (via Composites World).
DUFOUR AEROSPACE | SAVBACK HELICOPTERS
Swiss eVTOL startup Dufour Aerospace have appointed Swedish helicopter sales specialists Savback Helicopters as exclusive distributors of their upcoming 8-seat, hybrid-electric Aero3 aircraft in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (via Dufour, Savback):
SkyDrive's SD-03 'flying car' went on display outside Japan for the first time at CES in Las Vegas. The company noted in their release that; "Model SD-05 is currently under development and eyed as an air taxi for World Expo 2025 in Osaka" (via SkyDrive):
THE EPLANE COMPANY
Indian eVTOL startup The ePlane Company completed a $5m fundraise led by deep tech VC Speciale Invest alongside the University of Tokyo's VC fund UTEC, local funds 3one4 Capital, Anicut Capital, First Cheque, and Java Capital as well as storied investor Naval Ravikant - an early backer of both Twitter and Uber. The company aim to certify a cargo variant of their e200 prototype in 2022-23 and a passenger variant with EASA in 2024-25 (via Times of India).
UK eVTOL startup Autonomous Flight are reported to be seeking $100m USD in Series C funding, though it remains unclear who any of the investors in previous rounds are. The company's two-seat, three motor Y6S aircraft - a full-scale static prototype of which seems to have been constructed - appears to have been superseded by a larger six-seat Y6S Plus model, at present seemingly little more than a CG rendering (via UKTN):
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
BYE AEROSPACE | PIFORE | SPICEJET | SPICEXPRESS
Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet's cargo subsidiary SpiceXpress - soon to be hived off and operating under their own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) - are reportedly set to receive 10 electric cargo aircraft from Colorado's Bye Aerospace. The deal will reportedly see 5 x aircraft delivered by 2024, and five more by 2026 in a deal that's said to include Indian engineering company Pifore having signed an MOU with the American plane maker worth $4-6.6m USD (via CH Aviation, Pifore).
ELECTRA | FLYV
Electra Aero signed a deal with air mobility company flyv which will see the fledgling Bavarian booking platform become the eSTOL manufacturer's air mobility service partner in Europe and includes a commitment to purchase up to 100 aircraft (via PR Newswire):
AIRFLOW AERO | TAILWIND
Seaplane operators Tailwind Air have signed a 'letter of interest' with California's Airflow that'll see the scheduled and charter airline acquire twenty of the company's Model 200 eSTOL aircraft in a floatplane variant (via Airflow):
EVIATION | MAGNIX
After a successful first taxi test in December, Eviation's Alice has been spotted preparing for an expected first flight from Arlington Municipal Airport (KAWO) near Seattle this month (via Eviation, The Drive):
In related news the company's Executive Chairman and Boeing veteran Roei Ganzarski - notably also CEO of MagniX - departed his roles at both Clermont-backed companies. Dominique Spragg from the Singaporean investment firm will take up his Exec Chairman position at Eviation, already holding the same post at MagniX (via Yahoo! Finance).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
AIR NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand's flag carrier issued an open call for suppliers to approach them with sustainable alternatives to their Dash 8 Q300 and ATR72 aircraft through a detailed Product Requirements Document (PRD). This PRD focuses on sub 2-hour domestic flights, requires aircraft to have a minimum 200km range and notes that they'll consider clean sheet designs and retrofit solutions (via Air New Zealand):
CRANFIELD AEROSPACE SOLUTIONS | EASYJET | ROLLS-ROYCE
EasyJet will work with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to "to support the development of its hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for commercial aircraft." It follows an announcement in December that the low cost carrier will work with Rolls-Royce on "industry-wide sustainability solutions for commercial aircraft" (via EasyJet, Rolls-Royce).
ELECTRIC AVIATION GROUP | H2EPS | UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM
Electric Aviation Group (EAG) and the University of Nottingham will collaborate on new joint venture 'Hydrogen Hybrid Electric Propulsion Systems Ltd' (H2EPS) - to develop and commercialise kW-MW class hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen-electric propulsion systems. H2EPS will initially focus on 2MW class electric propulsion systems for aerospace applications (via University of Nottingham).
ALIARO | HEART AEROSPACE
GKN AEROSPACE | H2GEAR
An update on GKN's involvement in the H2GEAR project (which received £54m GBP in finding last year) reiterated the goal of having a 1MW hydrogen fuel cell powertrain ready for ground test by 2026. It was however noted that "...what has become clear...is that to move forward with the design, [we] will also need to know quite a few specifics about which aircraft will be using it" (via Hydrogen Fuel News).
DENMARK | SWEDEN
In her New year's address Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen set the goal of making all domestic flights in Denmark fossil fuel free by 2030 - an aim already shared by neighbouring Sweden. Denmark aims for the first "green" flights to take-off by 2025. Sweden additionally plans to de-carbonise international flights by 2045 (via BBC, State of Green).