The project of Embraer to create an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, known by its acronym in English eVTOL and affectionately nicknamed “flying car”, it is reaching new heights. THE eVTOL development came out of the umbrella of EmbraerX, the group’s innovation arm, and will now walk on its own in a separate company, the Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions, or only Eve (but IVI).
THE president and CEO of EmbraerX, Daniel Moczydlower, explained that the eVTOL project has been under development within EmbraerX for about four years and the idea has been taking shape since then. “As much as the market (for a vehicle like this) does not exist today, you can look into the future. Many people are betting on it and everything leads us to believe that it is not an unreasonable bet,” he said in an interview with Estadão / Broadcast.
Moczydlower explained that the creation of Eve, which today is a kind of startup, will give more agility in the development of the project. “Embraer will capture an important space in the market if it moves fast. Now the project has to accelerate, gain speed, to be the first to enter,” he said.
Embraer’s investment in this potential market did not come out of the blue. EmbraerX is part of the Uber Elevate (shared and accessible air transport project by Uber) since its inception in 2017. “Uber has very rich data on the transportation of people in the largest cities in the world. They know which routes are the most dense, how much time is lost in transit on those routes and which would be the best markets for this type of transportation, “he said. One of the main bets is the market for United States.
The idea is more than replacing the helicopter but creating a new dynamic for air travel in large cities, which will also require a reconfiguration of urban air traffic control to face the growth in the number of landings and takeoffs. “The helicopter is one of the most inefficient machines that exists. Fuel consumption is high, it makes a lot of noise. The only reason it exists is the possibility of making vertical landings and takeoffs. We want to find a cost equation that allows us to use an eVTOL with the same frequency as using an Uber Black (most luxurious car modality in the Uber transport app) “.
Although it looks futuristic, Moczydlower explained that the arrival in the vehicle market in these characteristics is getting closer and closer. He pointed out that there are several projections on the part of consultancies ranging from 2023 to 2028. “Anyway, everyone agrees that it will be in this decade.”
EVTOL has already passed simulator tests (similar to those made on aircraft). On the physical side, a “1 to 10” test model has already been operated (where the actual vehicle size is divided by 10, to test the engineering) and the “1 to 3” test is now being developed. “The estimate is to do the 1 to 1 test at the beginning of next year. What we have already done with the simulator and the prototypes already gives us a lot of certainty about the viability of what we are developing,” he said.
At the moment, the group does not intend to disclose the amount to be contributed to Eve. “What I can say is that Embraer is providing what we call seed capital (investment in projects under development). And as the project grows and gains speed, we will need more investments “, he said.
With the creation of Eve, EmbraerX, which emerged in 2017, will now focus on other group innovation projects. The executive pointed out that the most advanced of them is the Beacon, a kind of aeronautical maintenance and services marketplace that surpasses Embraer aircraft. “We have a company that started using it and is very satisfied. The proposal is to serve other manufacturers on the platform besides Embraer,” he said, highlighting that he still cannot give further details and that the group should soon announce news.