Airbus reveals its fully-electric CityAirbus eVTOL prototype

  • Airbus’ prototype of an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL) has been revealed.
  • With an electric range of around 50 miles, and a top speed of 75mph, this light aircraft will be perfect for cross-city, zero-emission applications.
  • The CityAirbus NextGen prototype will undertake its maiden flight later this year.

Meet the Airbus CityAirbus NextGen

With its relatively short range, the CityAirbus NextGen is set up as a replacement for fossil fuel-powered helicopters – able to undertake missions such as emergency transport, ecotourism, and passenger transport. eVTOLs are a blend of helicopters and conventional planes, being able to fly as a plane normally would, but also take off, hover, and land vertically, significantly widening their use case. The CityAirbus NextGen will be able to carry three passengers and a single pilot, with power coming from eight electric rotors.

The reveal came alongside the opening of a new CityAirbus testing site in Germany, which will assist in the future development of eVTOLs. At this site, the CityAirbus NextGen will undergo numerous tests on its rotors and flight controls before it is deemed fit for its maiden flight. This prototype is just one piece in Airbus’ decarbonisation puzzle: Airbus is also looking at the use of hydrogen, either as a propulsion source for future aircraft, or as a resource to create synthetic e-fuels out of renewable energy. For larger aircraft, Airbus is focussing on hybrid-electric systems for now.

- Advertisement -

The UK itself is already gearing up for the arrival of eVTOLs such as this, with Skyports opening an electric vertiport testing site in Oxfordshire, and electric aircraft chargers starting to pop up amongst various regional airports.

Balkiz Sarihan, Head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus, commented:

“Rolling out CityAirbus NextGen for the very first time is an important and very real step that we are taking towards advanced air mobility and our future product and market. Thank you to our community, team and partners all over the world for helping us make this a reality”.

Brandon de León, Electric Aviation Researcher, added:

“Airbus may be the best positioned company in the global eVTOL race. As the world’s largest helicopter producer, it has tremendous vertical flight IP, production and certification know-how, and hard-to-replicate data insights from its Vahana eVTOL program, its VOOM helicopter service, and its vast customer book flying in over 150 countries. The CityAirbus NextGen program is one to watch. Balkiz and her team are already showing they are laser-focused on the long game and are comfortable charting their own course with choices like seat count, launch geographies, and critical alliance building”.

Related Articles