electric vtol the end of helicopters

In a thought-provoking podcast from CleaningUp, the interview described Joby Aviation’s development of a new civilian electric VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft and the thought is – are eVTOL the end of helicopters? Electric airplanes are here as a small trainer aircraft, but commercial size passenger plans as outlined in Electric aeroplanes are here and here. VTOL were previously mentioned by both Joby and Archer have electric VTOL

Are eVTol the End of Helicopters ask Joby Aviation

Bryony Interviewed Bonny Simi, President of Operations at Joby Aviation, where she’s working on bringing to market a new eVTOL. As explained in the interview, the path to a new aircraft type is expensive and slow to market.

The idea of vertical flight has been around for thousands of years, and sketches for a VTOL (helicopter) show up in Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch book. Manned VTOL aircraft, in the form of primitive helicopters, first flew in 1907, but would take until after World War Two to be perfected  (Wikipedia). See also helicopters which rise vertically.

Reducing emissions in the aviation is not just fuel emissions but contrails as well. Multiple paths in this hard-to-abate sector include

  • Electric planes using batteries
  • Using low emissions fuel
  • Using hydrogen as a fuel

Aviation accounts for 2% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and grown faster in recent decades than rail, road or shipping. Aviation emissions in 2022 reached almost 800 Mt CO2, about 80% of the pre-pandemic level. 

Key Components for eVTOL

  • Helicopters and VTOL mostly focus on the short <100 mile (150km) sector
  • Have all air regulations. 
  • Key issues are noise and emissions. 
  • EVTOL has the following features
  • Vertical takeoff functionality (even off tall buildings)
  • Designed with safety – redundancy 
  • Lack of noise. 
  • No jet fuel needed at heliports or airports.
  • Distance of 100 miles (160km) (with reserves) is enabled by wings 
  • Large majority will be 10 to 20 minutes across a city.  Eg London south to Norther
  • Urban transport
  • Pilot Plus 4 passengers and cost-effective
  • Battery density is currently 280Wh/kg (so improvements will extend range and weight)
  • 6 engines and 6 batteries, no single point of failure
  • Fit into existing ecosystems,  VRF, and will be instrument class.
  • Propellors turn slowly so low noise.
  • Safe quiet and fast

Joby Aviation

  • Founder JoeBen Bevirt
  • Funders JetBlue, Toyota, ANA, SK Telecom from South Korean
  • 1 billion cash in bank, burning cash at $100m per quarter
  • Progression through certifying to manufacture and then onto operations.
  • Planning to produce 20 initially up to 500 per year
  • Signed with UAE for taxi service
  • Signed with UBER for Southern California
  • New York taxi Prog
  • Manufacturing with Toyota Aircraft 
  • Near term, replacing helicopters in that size and use


Archer is similar to Joby and will launch in 2025. Their route to commercialisation was via a SPAC, not a VC. See comparison table below for more details

Comparison & Similarity

FeatureJoby AviationAcher
Funding typeVenture Capital and PartnersSPAC Listing. Ark Invest, United
Funds left$1b$625m
Market Value (Yahoo Finance)$3.48$1.38b (Yahoo Finance)
StagePreproductionFlying 2025
Battery Details280Wh/km142kWh
6 battery packs
Manufacturing partnerToyota
Dayton Ohio
20 pa, scaling to 500 pa
Range100 miles (160km) plus reserve50-70 miles
Max Speed200 mph
Charge Time10 mins
AirportsNew York JFK to Downtown
Sth California
Newark to Manhattan 10 minutes
UAE, India
Archer Midnight eVTOL

H2 Fly

A subsidiary operates in Germany to use hydrogen.

References and More Reading

  1. A Magnificent Woman And Her Flying Machines – Ep156: Bonny Simi Podcast Cleaning Up https://cleaningup.live
  2. Joby Aviation YouTube Channels https://www.youtube.com/@JobyAviation
  3. VTOL Aircraft https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTOL
  4. H2Fly Breaking the Hydrogen Barrier https://www.h2fly.de/
  5. Flying cars are landing in 2025 Archer Aviation https://archer.com/technologies