Big news in the Big Apple: The classic yellow taxi may soon meet its new competitor, the eVTOL.
A Joby Aviation eVTOL, otherwise known as an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, achieved a groundbreaking feat by becoming the first of its kind to fly over New York City.
“By electrifying one of the most famous heliports in the world, New York is demonstrating global leadership in the adoption of electric air travel,” stated JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, according to CleanTechnica. “We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers, while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.”
This could revolutionize travel in New York City and beyond, as an eVTOL flight from Manhattan to JFK Airport would only take about five to seven minutes, compared to the expected 45 minutes to an hour or more via car.
With their electric motors, an eVTOL with three passengers in tow was recorded to produce 52% less harmful carbon pollution than a car, even when charging its batteries with a dirty energy source like methane gas.
As an added bonus, eVTOLs would not contribute to the noisiness of the big city, as they have been designed to prioritize quietness. By incorporating electric motors and highly efficient wings, the vehicles create very little sound during their operation.
“If Manhattanites noticed a small, quiet aircraft taking off from the Downtown Heliport and flying over the East River on Sunday, it wasn’t a UFO — but rather a glimpse into the city’s air-taxi future,” Michael Verdon wrote for the Robb Report.
A similar electric aircraft from Germany, the Volocopter, recently flew over Tampa, Florida, showcasing the feasibility of electric flying vehicles as a realistic transportation option in the near future.
According to CleanTechnica, Joby’s prototype electric VTOL aircraft has already covered 30,000 miles in flight, and the company plans to begin commercial service by 2025.
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