German eVTOL startup Volocopter has unveiled a new aircraft, the VoloConnect. This new aircraft differs from its existing offerings in that it is aimed at connecting suburbs to cities, rather than providing transport within a city.
Volocopter is one of the more well-known eVTOL companies and is also at an advanced stage. Back in late 2020, the company announced that it was offering the world’s first electric air flight reservations. These flights will take place in Volocopters smaller VoloCity 2-seater aircraft. Allowing people to put money down on a flight of this kind is a real vote of confidence. There have been a number of successful test flights, and once the regulatory hurdles are cleared Volocopter will be up and flying. The company believes that all going well, this VoloCity air taxi service will be operational in Singapore by 2023.
The VoloConnect differs from the existing VoloCity aircraft in a few key ways. The most important difference is the range. While the VoloCity only has a range of 22 miles, the VoloConnect will have a range of around 60 miles. Also, the VoloConnect will have four seats – double the number of the VoloCity.
The extra range that the VoloConnect will offer opens up new market potential. Rather than just catering to short, inner-city trips, the new aircraft will allow for transport from more suburban areas to inner cities. The extra seating will also be a plus point for this market. The aircraft will travel at a cruising speed of 180 km/h (111.8 mph) with a potential top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
Volocopter doesn’t just cater to the passenger market, though. It has also developed the VoloDrone, a mid-range urban logistics eVTOL that can be used to transport goods and provide other urban air mobility services.
The new aircraft demonstrates Volocopter’s goal of operating in as much of the urban air mobility space as possible. Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter backed this up in a statement.
“VoloConnect embodies the next dimension of our mission to offer affordable, efficient, and sustainable flight mobility solutions for cities around the globe. Leveraging customer insights from our existing VoloCity and VoloDrone, VoloConnect’s capacity to support longer missions and higher payloads serves another strong growing market demand.”
As with all of the eVTOL companies, success is completely dependent on the introduction of regulations to govern how the vehicles will operate. This challenge isn’t something that Florian Reuter is worried about. “We are confident that this aircraft family, and the years of experience and leading innovation on which it’s founded, will pioneer the way for electric UAM services to launch commercially and internationally,” he said.
Featured image courtesy Volocopter.