World’s first electric air taxis to be launched in Japan

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The startup Joby Aviation has teamed up with Japan’s largest airline to create an air transport service – with Toyota among its partners. Joby’s vision for the future of urban transport was first seen in 2015, when the company unveiled an electric plane designed to take off and land vertically by tilting its engines, enabling it to fly at an astonishing 330 km/h.

While the flight test programme is in full swing, the company is also making administrative progress, with a vision of ports and stations on top of multi-storey car parks that could be used by second-generation eVTOL models in the future.

A partnership with Ana Airlines, announced on Monday, will see the launch of five-seat, all-electric aircraft in Japan, and we will soon see how the ground-breaking eVTOL vehicles will operate in real life.

The maximum range of the air taxis will be 241 kilometres, while their top speed is set at 321 km/h. If everything goes according to plan, the new vehicles will be able to transport passengers on the 50-kilometre route between Osaka station and Kansai International Airport.

By car, the journey will take around 55 minutes, while Joby’s flying taxi will cover the distance in just 14 minutes. Ana and Joby will also work together on pilot training, infrastructure, air traffic control and regulatory requirements, and have secured Toyota as a sponsor.

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