Interview Synopsis

eVTOL Aircrafts – regulatory landscape and technology trends

  • Private Equity
  • Industrials
  • North America

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircrafts could be flying in our skies by 2024 if key components are scaled up and labour constraints are avoided, according to a former engineer at Joby Aviation.

eVTOL set for take off in 2024

In an Interview with Third Bridge Forum, the specialist explained how eVTOL aircraft are certified and the competitive landscape. For example, the specialist said Joby designs every component from start to finish, whilst Vertical Aerospace uses partners across the industry to develop major components. Although the specialist claimed both have advantages, they said that Joby’s process could be a “burden” given every component it designs needs to be certified. 

We were also told flight testing takes 18-24 months. However, the specialist said this timeline is “aggressive” and could be extended due to labour constraints and component delays. Such delays could cause financial problems for eVTOL companies, the specialist added, potentially putting some “on the edge of collapse”. They also told us that while components need to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), some eVTOL players may have options to pursue certification outside of the FAA’s parameters if there are still “lingering issues” after 2024. 

Scalable components were mentioned by the specialist as a way eVTOL companies could improve certification times. They said this is challenging given such components do not currently exist in the industry. However, the specialist said a company like Continental Aerospace, which manufactures inverter motor gearbox combinations, could “easily” scale up such components so they have an aviation application.

The specialist told us the biggest design challenge for eVTOL is not related to avionics or airframe but rather safety and electrification. They also said battery charging and battery vertiports were a common issue that is “not being discussed”. 

Over the next five years, the specialist said they expect to see “significant” consolidation in the eVTOL industry and that there is a “huge” opportunity for suppliers to provide certified components to bridge the gap. 

The specialist is confident that we will see eVTOL aircraft flying around the skies by 2024. However, they also warned that any accident or safety issue that dampens consumer confidence could derail that trajectory.

Click here to access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s “eVTOL Aircrafts – Regulatory Landscape & Technology Trends” Interview.

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The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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