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Electric Vehicles Research
Posted on May 30, 2024 by  & 

eVTOL Vehicles and Zero Emission Travel

eVTOL air-taxis could be the new efficient means of intercity travel with zero-emissions short flights. Whilst they may resemble helicopters, they could be far more cost effective and more environmentally friendly in the long run and are similar to aeroplanes in their rotor-enabled forward flight. With their electric propellors powered by batteries, new designs and innovations are broadening the market.
eVTOL vs Aircrafts
Cheaper and easier to manufacture than helicopters, eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and land) vehicles promise to be available to a wider consumer base. Their fuelling costs are much lower, with their rechargeable energy source inside, and with fewer critical moving components, lower maintenance costs will also be a driver for these prototypes to hit commercial markets. IDTechEx figures show a maintenance cost of US$112 per flight, just 25% of that of a helicopter flight.
Runways and complex infrastructure won't be required, as eVTOL air-taxis take off similarly to helicopters, without having to gain ground speed before take-off. Noise pollution that accompanies large engines will also not be such a concern as eVTOLs are quieter due to smaller and innovative rotor designs and the use of eMotors, and they may be approved to fly in more areas than helicopters without causing disruption.
Motor Characteristics
Safety is a huge factor to be considered alongside low disturbance, and is one of many key factors for companies to prove in their prototype developments. With the many start ups in the eVTOL vehicle industry, there are a few additional motor characteristics that must be met to be a competitor in the market.
Power density for eVTOLs is crucial to enable high enough power for take off and landing, whilst having a light enough body for the efficiency and the best possible performance. Good control responses are vital for safety and accuracy of movement, so passengers can feel safe and secure when travelling.
Multicopters, tiltroters and tiltwings are some of the main types of eVTOL vehicles. While multicopters have multiple electric rotors to control flight, they have no wings, whereas some of the other types have stationary wings for efficient cruise. Many prototypes have been created, with a smaller number making it into the production stage.
eVTOL Challenges
Investing in eVTOL vehicles could be somewhat risky due to the fact that it is all so new, and nothing quite like them to compare their predicted success. The competitiveness however appears to be great, with lots of start-up companies despite high costs of entry. There is also lots of need for research and development within the industry, so choosing where to invest could be tricky.
Regulations that aren't yet in place might also be difficult to implement, as there is no previous experience with such vehicles. Air traffic management will need to begin factoring in these new zero-emission vehicles once they enter the market, as to not interfere with other aircrafts and established routes.
IDTechEx further identifies some challenges with the decision to have eVTOL vehicles flown by a pilot, and wonders whether autonomous is the best route to go down in order to free up space for an extra passenger. There is also predicted to be some problems to overcome with public acceptance of their noise, though limited, and safety aspects. Selecting which batteries are best suited for these vehicles is also a consideration. The IDTechEx report 'Air Taxis: Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) Aircraft' finds lithium-ion batteries to be best suited for such aircraft.
It will be most feasible for eVTOLs to travel between cities at distances over 50km for example, but in order for this to happen successfully, battery and charging technologies will need to improve. These air taxis also face competition of high speed rail, with the costs of their journeys making them less accessible.
For more information, please see the IDTechEx report "Air Taxis: Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) Aircraft 2024-2044: Technologies, Players" - visit for more. For the full portfolio of EV research available from IDTechEx please visit
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Posted on: May 30, 2024

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