As opposing views on standards for electric air taxi charging infrastructure have recently burst into public view, autonomous aircraft developer Wisk Aero finds both cases compelling. 

“We’re not in either camp right now, to be honest,” chief executive Brian Yutko tells FlightGlobal on 4 December. 

The aircraft manufactured during Wisk’s upcoming pilot production run will be compatible with the combined charging system (CCS) favoured by Archer Aviation and Beta Technologies, the latter of which is rolling out a network of charging stations on the USA’s East Coast. 

However, the company has also “designed systems that are a lot like what Joby has presented”, Yutko says, referring to fellow California start-up Joby Aviation’s proposed aviation-specific charging system

Wisk's test fleet of 5th- and 6th-generation demonstrators

Source: Wisk Aero

Wisk finds itself caught in the middle of the eVTOL charging debate 

Wisk has not finalised the system it will use for its eventual production aircraft, which is on track to fly passengers before the end of this decade.  

“There are pros and cons to both approaches,” Yutko says. ”We see a lot of merit in both of them. Joby has a really interesting system because it’s designed for the aviation use case. It’s designed thoughtfully from the ground up and has integrated cooling and data transfer and other things in one plug.”

“The CCS has the benefit of having been the standard that’s existed for 10 years for the automotive industry,” he continues. “It doesn’t have integrated cooling or heat paths to push cooling, and it’s also generally being overtaken by the NACS standard.”

Indeed, major automotive makers such as Ford, General Motors and Rivian have in recent months switched to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard, citing greater access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

Yutko maintains that Wisk would look at the issue “in a really sober way”, acknowledging that the company must decide soon as it advances plans for full-scale production.