At the Farnborough International Air Show, which opened Monday in Great Britain, Rolls-Royce revealed a hybrid VTOL concept that could carry four to five passengers at speeds up to 217 knots with a range up to 435 NM. The design should be flying by the “early 2020s,” the company said in a news release. The concept vehicle uses gas-turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors, the company said, which are specially designed to have a low noise profile. It also has a battery for energy storage. It would never need recharging, since the battery is charged by the gas turbine, so it wouldn’t require any special infrastructure. The wings rotate 90 degrees, allowing for vertical takeoffs and landings.
The design could be adapted for personal transport, public transport or military applications and is based upon technologies that already exist or are currently under development, according to Rolls-Royce. “Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution,” said Rob Watson, who heads up Rolls-Royce’s team working on the project. “Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid-electric flight. We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”