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Uncategorized Boeing eVTOL Air Taxi

Published on October 18th, 2019 | by Nicolas Zart

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Porsche & Boeing Sign An Agreement To Work On “Premium” eVTOL Aircraft

October 18th, 2019 by  


Some big news this week is that Boeing and Porsche have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to look into the “premium” electric vertical takeoff & landing (eVTOL) aircraft market. Porsche says it wants to design a premium eVTOL aircraft and Boeing has aerodynamic expertise — hence the connection. The news introduces a few key turning points with both automakers and aviation. Both of these companies are established players and are feeling the media heat from aviation and road vehicle startups. I’m excited because I’ve been waiting for the convergence of road and air for the past three years.

Flying Cars or Drivable Airplanes?

The MOU says the companies are pooling some of their resources to look into the developing eVTOL markets. Boeing makes aircraft and Porsche builds cars, including electric cars. Naturally, Porsche has a good grasp of the premium vehicle market. Both companies are facing an upcoming impasse. Cars don’t sell as well as they used to, the “premium” market seems to be saturated, and aviation is facing the same problem that internal combustion engine (ICE) cars face, except a bit delayed. Turbofans can only improve so much. The logical consequence of automation is that it makes aircraft and cars safer, with less training required and more digital interfaces. I’m not belittling airline pilots—this is just a tech trend that is unstoppable and logical. Eventually, there will be mobility modules that will be able to fly, drive, and swim above and under water. My guess is in another 20 years.

Boeing said in its recent press release that it wants to “explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace.” Boeing NeXt Vice President and General Manager Steve Nordlund further added:

“This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand. … Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”

Kitty Hawk Heaviside HVSD eVTOL

Kitty Hawk Heaviside, courtesy Kitty Hawk Corp website.

To do this, both companies will create an international team focusing on various aspects of urban air mobility (UAM). This includes developing a market analysis and the much-needed use cases for a “premium” UAM aircraft, presumably.

Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences has developed and tested its own electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger air vehicle (PAV) concept, which we wrote about in January.

Boeing is also involved with Kitty Hawk.

So, what does all this mean for the electric mobility world? Premium usually means only a few will be built. Mobility history always introduces new technologies in the premium market first. The interesting part is why and how these two companies are now tackling UAM? The devil is in the details.

The Boeing press release says that Boeing, Porsche, and Aurora Flight Sciences are developing a concept for a premium eVTOL. “Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.” Premium is not a word we often associate with Boeing, even though it sells business versions of its airliners.

Embraer EmbraerX eVTOL

Photo EmbraerX courtesy Embraer

Embraer EmbraerX eVTOL

Photo: EmbraerX courtesy Embraer

As to Porsche, it wants to see how it can add its premium car expertise to the air. The company conducted a study in 2018 forecasting that the UAM market will pick up speed after 2025. This is on par with what most eVTOL and electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aviation companies say. NASA also sees the commercialization and viability of UAM happening between 2025 to 2030. But Porsche dropped something I never thought I would hear from any carmaker. It think s UAM solutions are faster and more efficient, as well as cost less than, conventional ground-based transportation. This is no small statement coming for Porsche. It certainly feels like cars will continue to become commodities. All eyes are now on UAM, particularly electric air mobility.

You might notice how the Boeing press release names Porsche first. “Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility.” We found out through the Porsche Club of America that Porsche dabbled in air mobility last year. It strapped a mid-’80s 3.2-liter 911 Carrera engine onto a Mooney PFM in 2018.

According to Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG: “In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel.” He further added that Porsche and Boeing are combining their mutual strengths to address a potential key market segment of the future. Hear, hear! Mobility world, thy neon burns bright red!

UAM Seeps Into Every Aspect of Mobility

Now for the shameless tooting of my own horn. I told you so! Five years ago, it became obvious road vehicles would have to eventually fly and aircraft could have some drivability. Flying cars have been tested since the 1950s, so some people were skeptical.

I do hear from aviation startups that many still think eVTOL aircraft are flying cars. They are not flying cars at all. They do not drive on roads. But the convergence of both mobility sectors isn’t a question of if but when.

This release is not revolutionary, but it spells out the future in no uncertain ways. It’s getting harder to sell premium vehicles. Byton and Faraday Future feel ridesharing and digital service subscriptions are the way to go.

Aviation has done a lot of work on automation. Planes can take off and land themselves in most situations these days. EVs are also tackling autonomous technology, albeit in a different way. The two have to merge in time for some applications. 

This is an amazing time to be alive. We’re witnessing the rebirth of two awkward industries pushed into a financial conundrum. We are witnessing the birth of an electric UAM world, and the very first signs of true automotive and aviation convergence. 

Here are the press releases from Boeing and Porsche PCA, respectively:


Porsche and Boeing to Partner on Premium Urban Air Mobility Market

Porsche and Boeing [NYSE: BA] signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. With this partnership, both companies will leverage their unique market strengths and insights to study the future of premium personal urban air mobility vehicles.

“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”

As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases.

Boeing, Porsche and Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences are also developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.

“This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand,” said Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt, an organization that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. “Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”

A 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the urban air mobility market will pick up speed after 2025. The study also indicates that urban air mobility solutions will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.


Porsche, Boeing to explore air mobility with prototype aircraft

Stuttgart/Chicago. Porsche and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. With this partnership, both companies will leverage their unique market strengths and insights to study the future of premium urban air mobility vehicles.

“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”

As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases.

Boeing, Porsche and Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing, are developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.

“This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand,” said Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager Boeing NeXt, an organization that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. “Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”

A 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the urban air mobility market will pick up speed after 2025. The study also indicates that urban air mobility solutions will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility. 
 
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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. His communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"



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