The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) industry is heating up, with a lot of companies finding dance partners for what looks like could be a boom industry — provided the significant technical and regulatory hurdles still standing in the way of viable commercial consumer air travel are overcome. Now, automaker Porsche is throwing its hat in the ring through a new partnership with Boeing, with the two signing a new memorandum of understanding to work together on developing a concept for a “premium” eVTOL.
This new partnership will explore what a “premium” offering might look like in the era of urban air mobility, including working together on the aircraft design (all the way up to developing and testing an actual prototype), as well as figuring out what the potential market for a premium air service would look like.
The irony is that likely for the foreseeable future, any air mobility service will be “premium” in terms of the cost of access and use. Already, Uber and others have launched short-distance commuter helicopter service for routes connecting busy airport hubs, but the cost of these trips means they’re not alternatives to mass transit arteries connecting cities and airports, for instance.
Still, it sounds like this Porsche and Boeing tie-up anticipates a future where air mobility ranges in terms of price, level of service and access. The automaker cites a study by its own consulting group that found urban air transportation could increase significantly starting at around 2025, which is one reason it’s entering into this deal now.