This past weekend, the skies of New York City witnessed a glimpse into the future of urban air mobility, as Joby Aviation and Volocopter demonstrated their electric air taxis. These demonstration flights were part of a press event on Sunday, where Mayor Eric Adams announced the electrification of two Manhattan heliports: Downtown Manhattan Heliport and East 34th Street.
The event also featured Beta Technologies, which is developing its own electric aircraft, showcasing its interoperable aircraft charging technology. This development marks a significant milestone for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developers, who are eyeing commercial air taxi services as a viable mode of urban transport in the coming years.
The eVTOL industry, which is crucial for the future of sustainable aviation, stands to benefit significantly from public investment. This is exemplified by Joby Aviation’s recent announcement of establishing a new aircraft factory in Dayton, Ohio, backed by over $325 million in state incentives. Such investments are seen as vital for the industry’s growth and the realization of commercial air taxi services.
New York City’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions aligns with these initiatives. The city aims to cut emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050, and the electrification of heliports is a step towards this goal. This move also supports the city’s broader transition to clean energy sources.
Focusing on urban centers, Joby Aviation previously revealed plans to launch commercial services in New York and Los Angeles, in collaboration with its investor Delta Airlines. This proposed “city-to-airport” service is expected to significantly reduce transit times, such as from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport to just seven minutes, heralding a new era in urban transportation.