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Are quiet and "green" the only arguments in favor of eVTOLs?

A comment, from a compatriot of the aerospace industry of tomorrow, on our previous publication inspired this article.

Here is the comment:

"To be honest the only advantage eVTOL airtaxis have for air transportation over current helicopter airtaxis is that they will be greener and quieter, but not cheaper on total cost of ownership basis if EVs are anything to go by.

When it comes to regional air mobility eVTOLs will have to compete with not only existing CTOL aircraft like Cessna Caravans and Tecnam P2012s, but also more efficient eCTOL aircraft like the Eviation Alice and Tecnam PVolt operated by regional airlines from existing small urban airfields and airports." Gary Vermaak, Advanced Air Mobility Consultant

Thank you, Mr. Vermaak, for your comment. Indeed, in general in the eVTOL industry we could agree with you. Many of the companies developing eVTOLs are currently working with concepts that require technological miracles that will only be realized by investing billions of dollars and will therefore have a major impact on the price of the aircraft, at least for the first few years of operation while amortization takes effect. Under these conditions, it will be difficult for these producers to offer a lower overall cost of ownership than helicopters. We are not even talking about the hundreds of millions of dollars they will have to invest to convince the regulatory agencies to grant them certification for manned flights, based on standards, chapters and articles, which in most cases, simply do not exist today.

It is for this reason that we chose Jaunt Air Mobility who have demonstrated that the overall cost of ownership will be at least 44% lower than helicopters from the beginning of our operations. The objective is to reach a cost 60% lower than helicopters. This is because the Journey is able to offer the flight performance claimed today with current battery technologies (i.e. less than 220Wh/kg) without the use of carbon fiber to reduce the weight of the aircraft. In addition, the Jaunt Journey uses a combination of fixed and rotary wings, the design of which is already well known and standardized by the certification agencies. All prototyping phases for proof of concept are therefore simplified and Jaunt Air Mobility can already work on the final model for flight and production certification.

We must also add the development costs of vertiports versus heliports, which should be half as much just because of the absence of fuel on the roof of the buildings.

In addition, as the gentleman says, eVTOLs will be greener and quieter. However, the fact that eVTOLs are quieter is not anecdotal. It is a major element that will be considered into the analysis of the regulatory agencies for the return of this type of aircraft in the skies of large urban cities. Another important element in this analysis will undoubtedly be safety. Once again, the Jaunt Journey is a reference in this regard, as it significantly increases the safety aspect by combining the gliding capabilities of airplanes and autorotation of helicopters.

Finally, as far as CTOLs and eCTOLs are concerned, as well as eSTOLs, we do not think that eVTOLs will be in competition but rather in complementarity. Especially since eVTOLs will undoubtedly be the most acceptable to land and take off on the roof of buildings.

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