UPS has agreed with development company Beta Technologies to purchase ten 635-kilogram electric-powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which will be available from 2024, and later expand its fleet to 150 units. UPS says Beta Technologies’ vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft would be deployed in small and medium-sized markets and deliver time-critical and healthcare shipments faster and more flexibly, replacing smaller, rigid-wing aircraft and reducing the environmental impact of the operation of the network.
The BETA type has four fixed propellers for vertical ascent and descent and one thrust propeller for horizontal flight. The electric aircraft, capable of carrying 635 kilograms, with a range of about 400 km and a cruising speed of 270 kilometers per hour, will fly several short or long distances between the platforms built by UPS.
UPS has so far contracted with the manufacturer for 10 copies, which will be available at the company from 2024, but in addition, the US logistics company has acquired an option to purchase 150 copies. Power batteries would be recharged on the platforms during loading and can be recharged in less than an hour with equipment developed by the manufacturer.
When the life cycle of batteries reaches a level where they can no longer be used in aircraft, refueling stations would be given a new role in recharging aircraft and ground resources. BETA has designed the model to be able to perform unmanned, autonomous flights in the future.