Rolls-Royce inks deal to power Vertical Aerospace’s flying taxis

With green mobility looking set to conquer the road, the next logical frontier is the sky. Rolls-Royce is ready to power such lofty electric dreams. The company is throwing its engineering weight behind Vertical Aerospace, a Bristol startup aiming to fill the sky with flying taxis.

To make this stuff of sci-fi a reality, Rolls-Royce is going to provide the electrical propulsion system for the aircraft planned by Vertical Aerospace, in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector. The air-borne machine will have passenger capacity of four. It will use batteries to power its engine, rather than hydro-carbon fuels.

The aircraft is said to have a range of 120 miles on a single charge and will attain speeds up to 200 mph. We could see a prototype flying in the air in a matter of weeks, showing how advanced talks have been between the two companies.

Image: Rolls-Royce

Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This exciting opportunity demonstrates our ambitions to be a leading supplier of sustainable complete power systems for the new Urban Air Mobility market which has the potential to transform the way that people and freight move from city to city.”

The project will see Rolls-Royce engineers from many countries working together with Vertical Aerospace engineers. Rolls-Royce sees this collaboration as a way to further its own environmental sustainability strategy, with the aim of achieving zero carbon emission by 2050.

In related news, Rolls-Royce has also teamed up with Tecnam and other players in the global aviation industry to develop “an all-electric, twin electric motor, short and medium range passenger aircraft, designed for maximum versatility and safety, powered by renewable energy”, named the P-Volt.

Image: Rolls-Royce

Vertical Aerospace has been active in developing all-electric aircrafts, including vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) prototypes. Several builds have been flown for testing, all assembled in the UK. The company was founded in 2016 by the founder of OVO, Stephen Fitzpatrick.

Michael Cervenka, chief executive of Vertical Aerospace praised his company’s collaboration with Rolls-Royce, saying: “We are excited to collaborate with Rolls-Royce, bringing onboard a hugely experienced team with deep expertise and cutting-edge electrical technologies to power our pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This collaboration builds on our existing partnerships and Vertical is well-positioned to develop the world’s leading eVTOL aircraft, certified to the highest CAA and EASA safety standards being set globally.”