England based engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce has unveiled a concept electric flying taxi, Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing 9EVTOL) vehicle at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018 and is confident that the production version will be airborne in the next 5 years. The design of the new flying machine built by Rolls-Royce can be adapted for both person and public transport and has a potential growth in logistics and military applications.
Rolls-Royce has taken its expertise in hybrid and electric powertrain to the next level with EVTOL. The experience gained in building hybrid-electric propulsion for naval vessels and trains has helped to develop this flying taxi says the company. The Rolls-Royce flying taxi uses the gas turbine technology to produce electricity to power six electric propulsors that claim to have a low noise profile. It also has a powerful battery for energy storage. The small plane has a seating capacity of four or five passengers and could travel at speeds above 500 kmph with an electric range of over 800 kms.
Further, this machine would not reqire recharging as the battery is charged by the gas turbine and would be able to utilise existing infrastructure such as heliports and airports. The commercially viable model for this flying machine is expected before 2025. The wings are able to rotate 90 degrees, enabling the vehicle to take off or land vertically. The propellers on the wing could fold away once the craft has reached cruising height, reducing drag and cabin noise, with the craft relying upon the two rear propellers for thrust.
Rolls-Royce refers to the EVTOL as the personal air mobility and believes that it is the right future machine to take on congestion in large cities. EVTOL will also play a role in meeting the requirement for more efficient travel with fewer emissions.
Rob Watson, head, Rolls-Royce’s Electrical team, said: “Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution. Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight."
Rolls-Royce is a pioneer engine provider in aviation and has developed first turbo-prop, jet engines to large civil aero-engine and vertical take-off and landing solutions. The company is ready to take on growth with new flying taxis as it plans a bigger third generation of aviation. The company has already invested about single-digit millions of pounds to develop EVTOL. Rolls-Royce is also researching an all-electric product but that is not as advanced as the EVTOL offering.