30 Jun 2023
The eVTOL aircraft upstarts breezed into the French capital this week demonstrating at the 2023 Paris Air Show that their time has come. The attention-grabbing new electric vehicles that promise to revolutionize the way people and things move around truly claimed their place on the aerospace world stage, with Volocopter’s 2X model silently opening the daily flying display—a first at a major international air show.
The two-seat air taxi, which the German company intends to bring to market as the VoloCity, is due back in Paris next year for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games as part of the Re.Invent Mobility exercise, which will see it used for flights connecting Charles de Gaulle Airport and the Media Village hosted at Le Bourget Airport. It might also be pressed into emergency medical services, with Germany's ambulance group ADAC announcing today a partnership with Volocopter that could see it add up to 150 VoloCity vehicles to its fleet.
In Hall 5 at the Le Bourget site visitors can find what is to date the largest concentration of eVTOL vehicles in one venue. Archer’s four-passenger Midnight vehicle turned heads by making its international debut after a long trip from California.
Archer CEO Adam Goldstein and his counterpart at automotive group Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, told reporters on Monday morning that the partners have started building the factory in Georgia where they claim they will someday build 1,000 eVTOLs each year. Also present was former FAA Administrator Billy Nolen, who is now Archer’s chief safety officer, tasked with steering the company along the winding path to type certification.
Another of Europe’s main contenders, Lilium, unveiled a cabin mockup showing how six passengers will ride up to 155 miles in its Lilium Jet. In May, at the EBACE business aviation show, it had display the four-passenger Pioneer Edition.
This week the German company announced plans to launch eVTOL flights in the Bao’an district of Shenzhen municipality in China and to sell up to 100 aircraft to Chinese operator Heli-Eastern. It is opening its new Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shenzhen.
Eve Air Mobility also brought its cabin mockup to Paris as part of a world tour. Visitors can try on virtual reality headsets to get a feel for riding above gridlocked city streets—a benefit showgoers could only have dreamed of during their hellish trips out to Le Bourget.
Also flying the advanced air mobility flag this week are France’s own Ascendance Flight Technologies, AutoFlight and EHang from China, Hyundai-backed Supernal, Overair, Joby, and Wisk Aero. Along with EHang, Boeing-owned Wisk insists it will enter service offering fully autonomous flights with no pilots on board.