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Electrification of Aviation is beginning with New Inventions

Aviation must decarbonize, but it’s a difficult task with direct CO2, nitrous oxides, black carbon, and contrails. However, this hasn’t stopped the aerospace sector from focusing on expanding its market rather than lowering its carbon footprint.

When I pointed out that the present outbreak of high-market cap electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft primarily have unclothed-emperor business models, I stumbled into this turf war. There’s an overlapping alphabet soup in the middle of this — UAM, AAM, and RAM — that must be clarified so that the genuinely worthwhile infants don’t get tossed out with the bathwater that the other babies have deeply muddied.

The last two letters, AM, stand for air mobility and are shared by all of them. The issues are in the first three letters, U, A, and R. U, A, and R stand for urban, advanced, and regional, respectively. Only regional has a compelling value proposition. Blade Runner’s future theory is urban air travel. In this picture of the future, a large number of autonomous and non-autonomous vertical take-off and landing aircraft will be roaming the streets. They don’t seem to realize that dystopias are where this vision is most often seen.

There are a few elements that overlap. The first is that cities will build a slew of vertiports on top of existing parking garages, repurposing the space. The second advantage is that VTOL craft is quieter, allowing them to land in more locations. The third is that most electric helicopters will shift to a flying model with pivoting electric rotors and turbofans to make it someplace before running out of power. In this domain, there are only a few use cases that have legs. And it usually includes a lot of hydrogen #hopium, as well as the ridiculous sexiness of helicopters that transform into planes.

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