United Airlines has signed a $15 million investment deal with urban air mobility (UAM) company Eve Air Mobility for the purchase of 200 four-seat electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The agreement also includes options for an additional 200 aircraft along with laying out plans for joint work on future projects such as studies on the development, use and application of Eve’s aircraft and the UAM ecosystem. As previously reported by AVweb, United also has a 200-aircraft agreement with eVTOL developer Archer.
“United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation,” said United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen. “Today, United is making history again, by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies. Our agreement with Eve highlights our confidence in the urban air mobility market and serves as another important benchmark toward our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050—without using traditional offsets.”
Eve was founded by Embraer, a connection United cited as one of the factors in its decision to invest, noting that Eve has access to Embraer’s service centers, parts warehouses and field service technicians. Eve’s four-seat eVTOL design uses fixed wings, rotors and pushers and is expected to offer a range of 60 miles (100 km). According to Eve and United, deliveries could begin “as early as 2026.”
How will they get around the laws that forbid helicopter operations in urban and subburban areas?
I know that I cannot operate a personal helicopter from my house to the mall to the grocery store.
Yawn–“More Virtue Signaling!” If I were a United stockholder, I’d be asking them to “splain” why they are “investing” in this. There is no way they can make money crewing, maintaining, dispatching, servicing the debt, and supporting a 4 seat aircraft.
This is akin to the old military axiom–“Run it up the flagpole, and see who salutes!”
Perhaps even more apt, these “vertical air mobility electrified small aircraft” are “Post Turtles.” There’s an old joke about “post turtles”–sometimes, you would see a turtle on top of a wooden fence post. You KNOW it couldn’t climb the post by itself–you KNOW it doesn’t belong there, yet there it is–just because someone put it there.
To understand why big companies support this nonsense, see Paul Cwik’s great lecture “Wilson, Waldo, Woke CEOs, and Ways Forward” on YouTube and at Mises.org
Kate, you are doing a fine job at improving AvWeb and putting a comic section under the title “eVTOLs/Urban Mobility” is a really good idea. The website: https://eveairmobility.com/ has very nice graphics but little Aviation relevance or humor besides the obvious fantasy Stuff. Maybe it’s funnier to the readers that live in the MetaVerse then it is to me?
Since we’re discussing humor, I would like to suggest AvWeb consider also adding to the comic relief section – https://www.chickenwingscomics.com/. This comic is much more Aviation relevant then the “eVTOLs/Urban Mobility” and “Unmanned Vehicles” section.
Move along, Klaus. This is a deal between two major industry players. Whether or not anything comes to fruition here there are plenty of us who appreciate AvWeb’s continuing coverage of these developments. Your sarcasm to Kate benefits no one.
“…deliveries could begin as early as 2026.” Really? Has anyone bothered to check with the FAA on the progress of certification? It took them four years to certify a drone! I don’t question the viability of electric UAMs, but I wonder where a major airline sees a niche in their operations for a four-seat craft. United subcontracts with other operators for their smaller commuter airplanes now, and they carry 50-75 passengers. In the beginning they will have to have an on-board pilot flying the thing so that means three passengers. Not exactly high volume flying. I guess I see the market as a service for flying customers from regional heliports to the main airport so that the flyers can avoid traffic and parking at the airport. Having just experienced the construction mess at Houston’s George Bush airport, that does have a definite appeal.
I would wager that deliveries will happen even before AvWeb gets in the 21st century and has at least an “edit” feature…
This is just one more illustration that the airlines are making way too much money, even with high fuel prices. I guess they are listening to their accountants who are telling them to find loss deductions for all the excess profits. This has to go beyond the usual woke virtue signaling to placate their green shareholders.