German urban air mobility (UAM) developer Volocopter has unveiled its first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to enter series production.
The two-seat air taxi, dubbed VoloCity, is the fourth generation of the all-electric multicopter, and is scheduled to make its first flight within 18 months.
Describing the VoloCity as “the most powerful Volocopter yet”, the start-up says it will certificate the battery-powered aircraft under the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s new special condition for VTOL (SC-VTOL) airworthiness regulations, which were announced in July.
“It is rigorously designed to meet the demands of urban air mobility,” says Volocoper chief executive Florian Reuter.
The VoloCity incorporates changes and improvements identified following more than 1,000 flights with earlier generation prototypes, the company says.
The design retains the multicopter configuration of the current test aircraft, known as the 2X, but the company has refined the aerodynamics of the beams that house the aircraft's 18 rotors. A new stabiliser has also been added to increase lift and stability in flight.
Designed for inter-city transport, the eVTOL is expected to have a range of 19nm (35km), a top speed of 60kt (110 km/h) and be able to carry two people and hand luggage. A piloted version will be first to market, with an autonomous VoloCity expected to follow at a later date.
The VoloCity will be operated from ground stations – dubbed VoloPorts – which the Bruchsal-headquartered firm is developing in partnership with UK company Skyports. The first example will be unveiled in the fourth quarter in Singapore, where the 2X will perform a public test flight.