Vertical Aerospace, a British aerospace manufacturer based in Bristol, is currently developing a fully electric aircraft that enables vertical takeoffs and landings. The company’s flagship Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft is the VA-X4, capable of carrying five people – a pilot and four passengers – for 120 miles (193 km) at cruise speeds of over 200 mph (322 km/h).
The piloted VTOL vehicle will be powered by Rolls Royce’s ground-breaking electrical power system. Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes its latest 100kW-class lift and pushes electrical propulsion units, the power distribution, and the monitoring system that will support operations. The VA-X4 has eight rotors arranged on either side of the wing edges. Four of them tilt to make the transition between vertical takeoff and horizontal flight like an airplane.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft,” said Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical. “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.“
About 150 Rolls-Royce engineers based in countries including Hungary, Singapore, Germany, US, and the UK will work with the Vertical Aerospace team to develop the aircraft, which aims to be one of the world’s first certified all-electric VTOLs.
The aircraft is on course to certify in 2024, starting commercial services shortly afterward.