Electric air taxi company Joby Aero has announced the completion of its longest all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) test flight to date of its full-scale prototype aircraft.
In a press statement, the company revealed that the flight completed over 150 miles (or 240 km) with the aircraft operating on a single charge of the company’s lithium-ion batteries.
According to the company, the flight was conducted in early July as part of its ongoing flight test campaign.
The flight took off vertically before transitioning to forward flight and completing 11 laps of a predefined circuit that lasted for over one hour.
“We’ve achieved something that many thought impossible with today’s battery technology. By doing so we’ve taken the first step towards making convenient, emissions-free air travel between places like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, Houston and Austin, or Los Angeles and San Diego an everyday reality,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby.
The aircraft uses commercially available lithium-ion batteries, an 811 NMC cathode, and a graphite anode cell.
Besides the test flights, Joby is working on getting certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Both parties have already agreed on a “G-1” certification basis and have been awarded a US Air Force Airworthiness Approval.
The company plans to officially launch its flights commercially in 2024. Typical flights will have a pilot and four passengers traveling at speeds of up to to 200 mph.
Joby banking on noise reduction
One of the aircraft’s unique selling points is the quietness of the flights. In a video, Bevirt demonstrated how the flights take off with mild propeller noise that could easily go unnoticed. He demonstrated how the aircraft took off at 55 dB, which is over 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter taking off at 90 dB.
While cruising forward, the planes’ wings bear most of the weight allowing the propellers to spin more slowly, reducing noise. According to Bevirt, while flying 1,640 feet overhead, the noise that reaches the ground measures less than 45 decibels.