Air taxis are being tested in New York

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After electric cars, the next revolution in transport will be electrically powered aircraft that can take off from a stationary position, known as eVTOLs.

But the eVTOL market is only just starting to really take off, with a working prototype delivered to CES in January by a company called Aska. And now Electrek reports that an air taxi jointly developed by Blade Air Mobility and BETA Technologies has been successfully tested and is undergoing trials in New York.

According to the paper, the two companies aim to provide cost-effective air transport in the world’s busiest cities, including the US, EU, Canada and India.

The electric air taxi has been in development for three years - pictured is a simulator test (Photo: BETA Technologies)
The electric air taxi has been in development for three years – pictured is a simulator test (Photo: BETA Technologies)

The eVTOL vehicle, code-named ALIA-250 EVA, has been under development by the two companies for three years. The design of the air taxi was inspired by nature: the designers were inspired by the migration ability of the Arctic Tern, a migratory bird that makes the longest journey of all birds. This inspired the design of the ALIA-250 EVA, as the engineers from both companies sought to find the most efficient way to fly.

The air taxi can cover 250 nautical miles on a single charge, or about 463 kilometres, and can then be ‘refuelled’ in about 50 minutes. Two versions of the eVTOL are being built: one specifically designed to carry passengers, but also a cargo version capable of delivering a load of 5.6 cubic metres. Test pilots from the US Air Force and the US Army have been asked to carry out the current tests.

The current demonstration marks a major milestone in replacing helicopters with electric aircraft capable of vertical climb. We are extremely pleased that our partner, BETA, has created the right aircraft with the range, carrying capacity and noise profile to be used in our key markets, including our base in New York City,” said Rob Wiesenthal, CEO of Blade.

There is no word yet on when air taxi services will begin in the US metropolitan area, but it is likely not too long before Archer launches its own eVTOLs in the Miami and Los Angeles area as early as 2024.


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