Luxury car manufacturer Rolls-Royce announced at the Farnborough Air Show on 15 July that it is designing and developing a flying taxi. Dubbed EVTOL, the futuristic vehicle would have space for five passengers and a top speed of 322 kmh. The company is looking to launch it on to the market between 2020 and 2029.
Rolls-Royce unveiled its electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) flying taxi concept at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018 on Sunday 15 July.
Best known for its luxury cars, the British firm also specialises in mechanical aerospace engineering and is the world’s second-largest aircraft engine manufacturer after General Electric Aircraft Engines, as reported by LCI. Though EVTOL is still at the concept stage, it makes use of existing technologies and has the potential to be developed in a short space of time.
Seating for five and a top speed of 322 kmh
Following in the slipstream of the DeLorean in the Back To The Future franchise and Korben Dallas’s preferred mode of transport in The Fifth Element, the Rolls-Royce project could well take flying taxis from the realms of science fiction to the real world. As its name suggests, EVTOL uses an electric propulsion system that can also run on fuel.
The hybrid vehicle, which at this moment in time is nothing more than a 3-D model, would carry up to five passengers. Featuring six electric propulsors, its wings are able to rotate 90 degrees. Four of the propulsors fold away when the taxi reaches cruising speed, thus reducing cabin noise, habitually the main shortcoming of electric vehicles. Situated at the rear of the vehicle, the two remaining propulsors then take over.
Rolls-Royce also announced that its engine, which is already operational, will allow EVTOL to reach a top speed of 322 kmh, while its predicted range is 800 kilometres.
Rolls-Royce’s flying taxi is expected to launch on the market between 2020 and 2029. Though the price has yet to be revealed, EVTOL is unlikely to come cheap. Yet, as Objet Connecté has reported, competition is expected to be stiff in this particular market, with Airbus, Uber and Audi all set to vie with Rolls-Royce, which should push pricing down.
The British company, which has its sights set on both civil and military markets, is also developing an all-electric aircraft. Yet as Rob Watson, head of Rolls-Royce's electrical team, explained: “All-electric is the way to hop around within a city, but if you want to travel 200 or 300 miles, if you want to run London to Paris, then you are going to want to run something that will give you that range. So we think you will see hybrid propulsion systems starting to make this market.”
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