UPS and its UPS Flight Forward subsidiary have announced plans to purchase up to 150 Beta Technologies Alia-250 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) cargo aircraft. The first ten aircraft, which will be used to support the company’s small and mid-size markets, are scheduled to begin arriving in 2024. UPS says it has also reserved Beta’s recharging station and intends to land the eVTOLs on-property at its facilities.
“This is all about innovation with a focus on returns for our business, our customers, and the environment,” said UPS chief information and engineering officer Juan Perez. “These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation.”
Beta’s Alia-250 prototype completed its first interstate flight last month, traveling from the company’s test facility in Plattsburgh, New York, to its headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. The Alia-250 is expected to have a cruise speed of up to 170 MPH, 250-mile range, cargo capacity of 1,400 pounds and recharge time of 50 minutes. The single-pilot eVTOL was designed to eventually operate autonomously “as technologies and regulations are established.”