Electric flying taxis could soon become a reality
Electric flying taxis could soon become a reality

There are no electric taxis yet, but a group of startups are trying to change that.

Joby Aviation, an electric airline based in Northern California, has released a video of its six-engine plane traveling 150 miles.

This flight is one of the longest in the history of electric aircraft. That's the equivalent of a flight from Los Angeles to San Diego, with regional partners of major airlines operating hundreds of regional flights daily.

Replacing polluting aircraft with zero-emissions electric air taxis such as Joby Aviation could be an important step in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Toyota-backed company, which recently acquired Uber's air taxi division, plans to offer full air taxi services including regional flights by 2024.

The goal of this 240-kilometre flight is to show how far his plane could fly on a single charge. This helps alleviate travel and range battery concerns.

"We've achieved goals that many people think are impossible with today's battery technology," said Joe Ben Bevert, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, in a statement.

"We have taken the first step to make comfortable, zero-emission flying between different locations an everyday reality," he added.

Instead of flying between two points, Joby Aviation flew 11 times in a radius of 22.5 kilometers with a total flight time of 1 hour 17 minutes.

Given the challenges of electric flying, this flight is an important achievement with the power-to-weight ratio being one of the major obstacles.

Electric air taxi is coming

Energy density - the amount of energy stored in a given system - is the primary measure. Today's batteries don't have enough power to keep most planes off the ground. Jet fuel saves us 43 times more energy than high-performance batteries.

However, Joby Aviation stated that commercially available lithium-ion batteries are used specifically for aviation purposes. Until the energy density of existing batteries increases, large capacity aircraft will not appear.

"We provided the best equation between the specific force an aircraft would need to travel 150 miles, the specific force needed to take off and land vertically, and the life cycle to provide affordable services," she said. We've shown in the lab that this battery can expect more than 10,000 nominal flight cycles.

In addition, Joby Aviation's power systems development team is led by John Wagner, Director of Powertrain and Electronics. Pioneer in battery technology at Tesla.

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