Toyota, the company that refuses to take battery electric cars seriously, has invested $394 million in Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi service based in California. The money was part of a $590 million Series C funding round, according to TechCrunch. To date, Joby has raised a total of $720 million from a group of investors that includes Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Toyota AI Ventures.
In a press release, Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda said, “Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky. As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
Joby Aviation has raised a $590 million Series C round of funding, including $394 million from lead investor Toyota Motor Corporation, the company announced today. Joby is in the process of developing an electric air taxi service, which will make use of an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developed in-house that will in part benefit from strategic partner Toyota’s vehicle manufacturing experience.
Joby Aviation was founded in 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt. It is developing a piloted eVOTL that has a range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 miles per hour. Because it uses an electric drivetrain and multi rotor design, Joby Aviation says it eVTOL is “100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead.”
Its association with Toyota will also give it access to the automaker’s considerable manufacturing experience when production begins. For now, the company is well along in the process of receiving FAA certification for its aircraft. Joby Aviation believes that it can achieve significant cost benefits compared to traditional helicopters for short aerial flights, eventually lowering costs through maximizing utilization and fuel savings to the point where it can be “accessible to everyone.”