Four years after Uber published the first Elevate whitepaper in October 2016 which literally launched eVTOL and UAM market, now Uber Elevate published a new whitepaper named “Uber Air: Designing for the Community”. As several eVTOL companies including both Uber Elevate partners and non-partners have been in the process of certification, it should be no surprise that Uber Elevate now shift its focus to ecosystem and community build up to prepare for the initial operation in the near future.
This whitepaper PDF file is available for downloading at:
on September 30, 2020 the Chinese eVTOL manufactuer Ehang unveil a large capacity cargo eVTOL drone based on its “216” passenger eVTOL called “216 cargo model” which has 200kg payload 200kg and has been test flying in China. Ehang intends to use it for various logistics delivery cases.
On 21 September 2020, Airbus presented three ZEROe airplane concepts which are all hydrogen hybrid aircraft. They are powered by hydrogen combustion through modified gas-turbine engines. Liquid hydrogen is used as fuel for combustion with oxygen. Airbus plans to to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.
Turboprop concept: Two hybrid hydrogen turboprop engines, which drive the six bladed propellers, provide thrust. The liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system is located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.
The exceptionally wide interior opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution. Here, the liquid hydrogen storage tanks are stored underneath the wings. Two hybrid hydrogen turbofan engines provide thrust.
On 15 September 2020 MagniX annouced that it was selected as the motor suppler for the hydrogen-powered Dash-8 airplane project of Universal Hydrogen which was recently founded by the former UTC CTO Paul Eremenko.
Universal Hydrogen is developing a retrofit kit for the De Havilland Canada DHC8-Q300, aka “Dash-8”,to a hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain.
MagniX will develop and supply two megawatt-class electric propulsion system to be installed on each wing of Dash-8.
“There is a clear need for a step change in emissions reduction in commercial aviation, and hydrogen-based, carbon-free power is the future of the industry,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “When looking for our propulsion partner, magniX stood out as a clear, proven leader with a track-record of delivering the best in aerospace-grade electric propulsion. We look forward to watching the successful flights of our fully carbon-free Dash 8.”
“Universal Hydrogen, through its hydrogen transport and distribution infrastructure solution, is on a path to change the way regional flight is achieved, and transform it from decades-old, expensive, polluting technology to low-cost clean solutions,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “The magniX team is inspired by the synergies between our mission and that of Universal Hydrogen. Together, we will bring scalable, proven technology to the next level of electric aviation.”
On September 13 2020 at the 2020 World UAV Conference held in Shenzhen, China, Autoflight Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. unveiled V400 “Albatross” electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for logistics for the global market, as well as announced its eVTOL product development roadmap.
V400 has two models with full electric and hybrid power respectively. Both models have 400kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and 100kg payload capacity. V400 is the first eVTOL in China specifically designed for logistics application and with over 100kg payload. With full payload the V400 electric model has 300km range while the V400 hybrid model has up to 1000km range, making V400 the logistics eVTOL with the longest range and the highest payload in China as of today. Autoflight have completed the construction of V400 prototype and plan to make the maiden flight by the year end.
Autoflight plan to develop eVTOL products for both logistics use and passenger carrying use such as urban air mobility (UAM), and pursue flight permit and airworthiness certification in China when relevant category and certification specification are established.
On 12 and 13 September 2020, the annual electric fly-in was held in Grenchen airport in Switzerland. Swiss aviation pioneer BERTRAND PICCARD was the patron of the event this year. Sixteen different projects of electric and hybrid powered aircraft were at the show. The fly-in had the first eTALK, the panel discussion, which brought together experienced experts from various fields of aviation.
The eTrohphy was handed over for the longest non-stop-flight to Grenchen with an electric propulsion system. The winning Antares 20E Team, with pilot Klaus Ohlmann, covered a flight distance of 357.6 km and received the eTrophy.
On 3 September 2020 the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced the addition of Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division as an Associate Member Full.
“We welcome Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division to GAMA. It is exciting to see automotive manufacturers enter the advanced air mobility sector of the aviation industry. The innovative technologies that are coming out of this rapidly growing sector are propelling general and business aviation into the future,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO
The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group is helping define a new category of mobility for the world’s communities. It is developing a smart, people-centered electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) air vehicle, tailored to the urban and regional mobility needs of tomorrow’s cities. In January, Hyundai and Uber Elevate announced their partnership to develop air taxis together.
On 1 September 2020 Pipistrel, the pioneer of Type Certified electric aviation such as the EASA-certified Velis electric airplane, presented the Nuuva V300 as the flagship model of the Nuuva series of unmanned air vehicles (UAV). Nuuva V300 embodies Pipistrel’s vision to disrupt aerial cargo transportation by commercializing the use of electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. The highly customizable autonomous aircraft can carry up to 460 kg, is easy and economical to operate, and offers the efficiency and reliability of electric powertrains. Entry into service is planned for the second half of 2023.
The large cargo compartment accepts up to 3 Euro-pallets (EPAL) that can be easily loaded with a regular forklift. The Nuuva V300 then flies a preloaded flight plan fully autonomously, controlled by a highly reliable digital flight control system. Continuous communication allows the ground operator, who manages the vehicle with simple mouse-clicks, to have ultimate control in case of changes or cancellation of the flight. The Nuuva V300 takes-off and lands using eight independent battery-powered Pipistrel E-811 electric engines, already Type Certified. The whole system is safeguarded by the integrated health self‑monitoring system that alerts of any potential malfunction even before it occurs, increasing the reliability and safety. Nuuva V300’s batteries can be charged by simply plugging-in to a SkyChargeTM by Pipistrel and Green Motion charging station
The Nuuva V300 can be customized for a wide range of missions. For operators that prioritize longer range, the vehicle’s payload capacity and anti-ice capabilities can be traded-off for more usable fuel, being able to transport 50-kg payload for as far as 2,500 km – all this without compromising the ability to take-off and land vertically from altitudes as high as 8,000 ft. At lower take-off altitudes and with shorter mission requirements, the payload can be increased to up to 460 kg, beating the coveted 1,000 lb threshold.
The smaller sibling of the Nuuva family, the V20, shares the same architecture and advantages of the larger V300 but is designed as a lightweight cargo courier carrying payloads of up to 20 kg. First customers will be able to take deliveries as early as 2021.
British company Vertical Aerospace today unveiled its new eVTOL design VA-1X. It is designed ‘to be a high performing aircraft, able to connect entire regions as well as carrying out shorter missions across single cities.’ It will be taken through certification with EASA in Europe and is on course to start commercial flights in 2024. More information at: https://www.vertical-aerospace.com/va-1x/
Pipistrel is now offering its electric propulsion systems to aircraft designers and manufacturers globally.
The E-811 motor is certified for use in General Aviation by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in May 2020. It is developed for Pipiestral’s Velis electric LSA which was certified by EASA in June 2020 . The E-811 motor combines a liquid-cooled electric motor and a liquid-cooled power controller. Offering 57.6 kW (77 hp) of peak power, and 49.2 kW (66 hp) of maximum continuous power, the E-811 is the ideal powerplant for powered sailplanes, UL, LSA and VLA aircraft, where a Type Certified Engine is required. It may also be installed on Part-23 Level 1 aircraft and other distributed propulsion applications by applying the corresponding special conditions.