Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Rolls-Royce Shows Off Its 'Hybrid Electric Flying Taxi

The British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed this week the project to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, called "flying taxi", which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.

The London-based aerospace giant, based in Derby in central England, has for the first time presented plans for the Farnborough Air Show, while other players have also entered the market segment.

Rolls said it hopes to build a prototype version of its EVTOL over the next 18 months, and could potentially take off in the early 2020s.

The Rolls-Royce EVTOL aircraft will accommodate four or five people, with a flight range of 500 miles (805 kilometers) and a top speed of 200 miles per hour.

"In this market, you will see something like that fly in three to five years, and we will demonstrate the system in two years," said Rob Watson, head of the Rolls-Royce power team.

"At the end of next year, we will be ready for the flight," he told AFP at the group's chalet in Farnborough.

The hybrid vehicle, which has so far cost millions of pounds to develop, will use a traditional gas turbine engine with an electrical system wrapped around it.

Rolls-Royce is also looking for an all-electric product, but not as advanced as EVTOL.

"There is an emerging market for all-electric aircraft, but we think you need a level of demand that any electrical system can not provide today," Watson told AFP.

"So all electric is the way to go around a city, but if you want to travel 200 or 300 miles, if you want to run London to Paris, then you're going to want to launch something that will give you range.

"So we think you'll see hybrid propulsion systems start making this market."

Rolls-Royce is not alone in the hybrid "flying taxi" market.

Other companies studying the sector include Uber, an American taxi company, the Kitty Hawk project supported by Google, Lilium Aviation in Germany, Safran in France and Honeywell in the United States.

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