• Tech Tech

This company just completed its first electric aircraft — and it's eyeing 7-minute transit flights with zero pollution

The production milestone and certification are the latest headlines.

Joby first electric aircraft

Photo Credit: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation is working on a project that not only electrifies mass transit, but also makes it airborne. 

The first aircraft just came off the company's California pilot production line, according to Electrek, which is a crucial benchmark for Joby's expansion plans. 

If successful, the results of the aerial ride-sharing service could be great — a trip from downtown New York City to John F. Kennedy International Airport would take just seven minutes, traveling up to 200 miles per hour, for example. That's 42 minutes faster than the typical vehicle route, according to a Joby digital illustration. 

The craft (it looks like a helicopter with multiple propeller sets) seats one pilot and four passengers. The company is calling the service a clean and quiet ride. And, with some federal clearances secured, the test flights are ready to begin.

If you someday ride with Joby, you will be carried by an innovative craft called an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing). It has six propellers that tilt as it flies, allowing for vertical takeoff and hover ability. 

So far, the preproduction model has flown 30,000 miles. It has made 154.6 miles on a single charge, according to Joby. 

The company claims the ride will produce "zero operating emissions" and be as "quiet as a conversation." Joby even has an audio clip comparing its aircraft's sound to other helicopters and planes.

It's the "culmination of years of investment in our processes and technology and it marks a major step on our journey to scaled production," Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt said in a press release. 

The production milestone and certification are the latest headlines for Joby in a string of big news. The company has recently secured a $100 million investment, added Toyota leader Tetsuo "Ted" Ogawa to the board, and will deliver the first aircraft to the Edwards Air Force Base in 2024 as part of a $131 million Air Force contract. 

It's a vision that started in 2009 with seven engineers working in a barn. Partnerships with NASA, Toyota, and even Uber are part of the timeline leading to what is hoped by Joby leaders to be a high-flying ride-share future, per the company website

Toyota's involvement has brought the automaker's experts into the fold with the hope of helping Joby achieve high-volume manufacturing. Uber is set to integrate the aerial service into its app as Joby works toward launching across the country, the company reports

Next up are continued test runs as Joby awaits commercial flight certification. Then, the company will have to scale manufacturing. Commercial passenger flights are slated to start in 2025, Electrek reports

"Our world-leading climate action relies on the technological advances and pioneering spirit of the private sector," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a recent visit to the Joby facility. "Creating jobs and cutting pollution — that's the California way."

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider