Former engineer at Joby Areo Inc
- Trends in eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) technology and impact on certification timelines
- Overview of testing and certification process, noting feasibility of latter’s timelines
- Costs associated with delays and value proposition of eVTOL
- H2 2022 outlook, noting potential market consolidation
Where are we today with eVTOL [electric vertical take-off and landing] aircrafts, and what aspects of getting aircraft certified and operational are most challenging today?
Could you go through the various eVTOL players and parallel their respective approaches, strategies, challenges and opportunities that come with each? What are the more- and less-complicated things that you alluded to?
What will Joby’s decision to vertically integrate the entire aircraft do for certification timelines? What issues might it run into, and what opportunities might it create for the company?
Could you provide an overview of the process to get an aircraft certified, appreciating there are differences with manned and unmanned? What is the process from prototype to testing to certification to operations?
What does the testing process look like in an eVTOL player? Could you compare that to other aviation or even auto, highlighting the more challenging aspects of the testing process?
What could meaningfully elongate or accelerate the 18-24-month testing timeline? What could push that to 12 or 36 months?
You mentioned the importance of parts. To what extent do parts and material availability constrain testing? Are there any specific parts or components that are more likely to delay the testing process?
What costs come with testing, outlining the various components? Could you also discuss the cost of delays and where overruns are more or less likely?
How would you think about each of the components for cash burn rate, such as headcount, testing cost or component cost, appreciating it may vary across players? What would a normal burn rate look like for an eVTOL operator?
What are the key enabling technologies when it comes to eVTOL and where do those technologies stand today? Where do they need to be to support mass manufacturing or just general operations of an eVTOL player?
Regarding the scalable components to decrease certification, you talked about Continental Aerospace as an example. Who might be the first players eVTOL players turn to in this situation?
Carbon fibre and composites are materials increasingly being used for any sort of future aviation aircraft, and even on newer aircraft. Is there any concern that we can’t keep up with composite or carbon fibre supply as eVTOL and other aircrafts ramp up production, and then there would be supply shocks and price increases to composite materials?
Could you parallel the eVTOL market to EVs and hybrid vehicles? We saw ICEs [internal combustion engines] and ambitions for EVs long ago, but we shifted to hybrids before EV. Does a parallel such as that exist in the eVTOL world?
You highlighted Joby’s partnership with Toyota, and there are other partnerships across the sector, including Embraer with Eve and Boeing working with Wisk. What are the puts and takes of these relationships and making an auto relationship, as opposed to turning to an aviation player such as Boeing or Airbus? What benefits do these partners bring and where will those relationships be most meaningful? You touched on Toyota with composites manufacturing.
You noted that you consider the 2024-25 timelines to be aggressive. What do you view as the main impediment that will constrain a player’s ability to meet these goals?
Many of the timelines circle the 2024-26 area for manned aircrafts. When do you think we will start to see aircrafts certified? Additionally, when will we start to see operations and then mass manufacturing? What’s a more realistic timeline?
What do you think of the overall value proposition that eVTOL players are selling? Is it just that multimodal travel is too time-consuming and traffic is a huge problem in the US or elsewhere, and that is why eVTOL is needed? Is one opportunity more viable across use cases such as intra-city travel, intercity travel or cargo?
What is your 5-10-year outlook for the eVTOL market? It seems to be a crowded market, with many players in development and early stages and maybe not as many opportunities as there are players. How do you expect this to shake out? Will we see consolidation or players falling out?
What could disrupt the trajectory of the eVTOL industry, other than certification delays or aircraft not being approved for whatever reason? What risks should we be evaluating over the next five years?
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