On Tuesday, Beta Technologies has announced the deal to supply around 20 electric vertical aircraft to Blade Urban Air Mobility.
Beta founder Kyle Clark informed the new reporters, “We’re really excited to partner with [Blade] because they have the most operational real experience and can talk credibly about the opportunities and the benefits of flying aircraft in and out of cities.”
Clark also added that Blade gets “opportunity to do flight paths that they presently are not doing with the capabilities of this aircraft. The EVA is really going to shine in complement to their existing helicopter fleet.”
EVAs is also known as VTOLs, which is an electric vertical that takes off and lands aircraft which seems like they are part of the helicopter, part plane. In the last week, Clark’s Vermont-based electric vertical aircraft maker signed a deal to sell almost 10 EVAs to United Parcel Services for testing on the package delivery.
However, the New York-based Blade agreed to purchase five EVAs from Beta with an option to avail over 15. It offers helicopter and executive jet flights focused on New York City, Los Angeles, and South Florida along with other Urban and tourist destinations.
Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal told, “What streaming was to Netflix, EVAs are to Blade. It’s about safety, zero emissions and quiet. Those are the three things that will be critical here.”
Well, Blade was founded in 2014 with the primary aim of obtaining EVAs to serve the transportation services which are cost-effective and carbon neutral. However, the air mobility provider mentioned that it has 200,000 users and transported 40,000 passengers in 2019 before the pandemic. Notably, the Blade is all set to go public through a merger with Experience Investment Corp with a special purpose acquisition company in a deal that will be closing on 5th May.
Wiesenthal said, “It increases our addressable market because most of the places we land, the airports are over 100 years old and the heliports over 35 years old. What’s holding us back from building new infrastructure or buying infrastructure is noise. Communities don’t want heavy airports and heliports around. This solves that issue. You will be able to show stakeholders such as community boards, local legislators, and the general public this technology is safe, quiet, and zero emissions. That’s how you start the conversation about building new infrastructure.”
Notably, Tuesday’s deal makes Blade the fourth customer for Beta. In addition to UPS, the company’s first consumer’s first customer, United Therapeutics which plans to make use of EVAs to transport human organs. However, the Air Force is also testing Beta’s EVAs as a part of the Agility Prime program.
Notably, Beta’s EVA is called the Alia-250 and it will be delivered to consumers by 2024, pending certification that starts from the Federal Aviation Administration. Moreover, the aircraft is powered by an electric battery that has around propellers and permits it to take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. Notably, it can carry almost 1,400 pounds or six people and can travel up to 250 miles at 170miles per hour only at once fully charged. However, the charging process takes around 50minutes.
“Electric powered aviation is the future of on-demand organ transportation and, with the ALIA aircraft and charging network, that future is closer than we think,” United Therapeutics CEO Dr. Martine Rothblatt exclaimed in a press release. Rothblatt is on the Beta board and is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio that merged with competitor XM to form Sirius XM.
Currently, the Wall Street research firm Wedbush has estimated around $300 billion which will be expended on EVAs by 2028. However, the EVA industry is now becoming progressively competitive with Joby, Archer, Wisk, and others competing for developing the evolving technology.