Aircraft

Joby shows complete eVTOL flight video, and clever carbon credit play

Joby shows complete eVTOL flig...
eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
View 8 Images
eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
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eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
The Joby eVTOL aircraft during unmanned flight testing in California
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The Joby eVTOL aircraft during unmanned flight testing in California
Joby seems poised to dominate the early stages of the eVTOL market, with an excellent aircraft and strong positions in manufacturing, certification, customer service, finance and now ground-based infrastructure
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Joby seems poised to dominate the early stages of the eVTOL market, with an excellent aircraft and strong positions in manufacturing, certification, customer service, finance and now ground-based infrastructure
Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
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Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
Test flights have been unmanned thus far
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Test flights have been unmanned thus far
Joby has completed more than a thousand test flights around its idyllic location in the Santa Cruz hills
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Joby has completed more than a thousand test flights around its idyllic location in the Santa Cruz hills
The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight
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The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight
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View gallery - 8 images

Joby Aviation has released new video showing a "complete flight profile" of its eVTOL air taxi, and also announced its plans to create (and profit from) a new carbon credit trading system similar to the one that's kept Tesla profitable for some time.

As much as Tesla sells cars, one of its biggest earners is selling carbon credits to other auto manufacturers. These carbon credits were introduced by governments worldwide to incentivize automakers to reduce emissions on their fossil-fueled vehicles and invest in clean electrics; for example, California and 13 other US states require car companies to make a certain percentage of their sales zero-emissions vehicles. If they can't, they can buy credits from other companies that have some excess credits, and since Tesla only makes electrics, it gets to sell all its credits.

This has been a pretty neat racket for Tesla. In 2020, the company sold about US$1.4 billion worth of carbon credits to companies including GM and Fiat Chrysler. This year, it's likely to be more than US$2 billion. That's pure profit – there's no cost other than a bit of paperwork wrangling for Tesla, and it's been effectively able to leverage its pioneering position in the EV market into a nice pile of cheddar that's come in very handy through the company's wobbly early years.

The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight
The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight

The aviation industry is going to prove much harder to decarbonize; batteries don't carry enough energy to get the job done a lot of the time, and hydrogen-based aviation is still in its infancy. But there are companies moving to make seriously big plays in electric aviation using existing technology, and you bet your life they've been watching Tesla's every move.

If I had to bet on one horse in the eVTOL air taxi game right now, I'd pick California's Joby Aviation. These guys have been working on electric VTOL aircraft longer than just about anyone. Their prototype has flown thousands of test flights, and was one of the first to receive military airworthiness. They own Uber Elevate. They have more investment money behind them than anyone else in the game, as well as a key partnership with Toyota. And they've already started signing infrastructure deals that will put vertiports on the top of multi-storey car parks in key launch cities across the United States. They're at the top of the AAM Reality Index for good reason.

And they're looking to get into the carbon credit game. Since it doesn't yet exist in the aviation world, they've partnered with JetBlue Airways and Signature Flight Support to "define the framework for the creation, validation and eventual use" of an aviation carbon market that will "include the generation of credits for flights powered by green electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies."

Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings

“With JetBlue and Signature, we’re opening up an entirely new path for the aviation industry to more quickly move to sustainable energy sources,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “We invite additional partners to join us and hope these agreements will be the first of many that link today’s air travel to the clean future of flight.”

“This partnership allows JetBlue to not only continue to fulfill our domestic carbon neutrality commitment, but also evolve the type of offsets we purchase and help support the development of electric and hydrogen aviation — critical levers for meeting the U.S. aviation industry’s net-zero goals,” said Sara Bogdan, Head of Sustainability and Environmental Social Governance at JetBlue.

Joby has also just released video of a "complete flight profile" for its air taxi, and while it's not the most exciting thing in the whole world to watch (throttle's on the right, guys) it does give an excellent overview of just how smooth the takeoff, hover, transition to winged forward flight, slow down and vertical landing process will be.

Indeed, it's damn near boring to watch – and that's not a bad thing at all. eVTOLs need to very quickly jump categories from "wild science fiction" to "practical transport" in people's minds if they're to revolutionize transport the way Joby, its competitors and its investors are all betting they will. The video below, and others like it, could play a part in that transition, and we look forward to a time when riding in these things will be every bit as unremarkable as taking a taxi.

Joby Complete Flight Profile

Source: Joby Aviation

View gallery - 8 images
11 comments
11 comments
Oirinth
it would be nice if a company pushing a technology as "vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters" would actually quit putting out videos with twee marketing music and let us hear what they sound like, if its quieter but sounds like a dental drill ... is it better?

dan
My favourite! Love it! Now, it's missing a video that proves a 58 min longer flight and with a payload of 4 PAX for the 4'000 lb aircraft!
Towerman
@Oirinth
Look at the previous joby review with actual flight noise, It's as quiet as a mouse. ;)

Once again JOBY bringing outstanding news for its future customers. This machine is bound for huge success ! Nothing will stop it !

@Dan
And once again when they easily prove this to you, you will think of the next troll question that will amount to hot air. You just can't accept progress and evolution.

Flat earth technology belongs to the wild west along with its horse carts ;)
guzmanchinky
Incredibly boring video. Just like watching an airliner take off, fly and land (which would have been insane 100 years ago). Perfect.
Mike Trites
This video was clearly CGI. I'm not saying that they don't have a prototype, or that they're not making progress, but this video doesn't show anything but a CGI model demonstrating a flight path. Look at the video description - they never outright say that it's real footage, because it's not. They say it's a flightpath demonstration, which leaves room for them to be able to say, "Oh, you thought this was real? Haha, woops, our mistake, we assumed you would all know it was CGI."
Don Duncan
No technical details, but lots on partnerships. So, someone is a very good salesperson, or their were amazing details, just not reported. But, Loz, you did find time to squeeze in 3 paragraphs on how Tesla is profitable because of the carbon credit. I guess Elon is lying when he said he doesn't need it to survive. But all the legacy makers are losing money on their BEVs while Tesla makes up to 30%. Could it be no advertising expense is needed because it sells every car it makes, with a waiting line? Could 72% of BEV sales be Tesla's because it's the best by far?
dan
@Towerman. Welcome back! Please keep the discussion based on facts. If you try to disapprove with mixing funny thoughts like flat earther, it does not help the technology. It is great what Joby does, indeed, though neither DARPA, Boing, Airbus, the Chinese Military, any eVTOL startup nor Tesla so far have found the battery with the energy density needed. And even if they would have a battery of 500 W/kg, that still would only be 10 % of a gas turbine driven system. I believe eVTOLs can fly. They can fly 2 to maybe 10 minutes. For a business case you need 1 hour. 15 min travelling time, 45 min (legally necessary) reserve time.
CAVUMark
Was the video CG?
guzmanchinky
Mike it's a real flight. So was Apollo 11. I know several pilot friends here in California who were invited to see it fly.
Daishi
There is a better video that captures audio where they interview the CEO while it lifts behind him. This video if it didn't overlay music still wouldn't be useful because it was filmed from a chase vehicle (helicopter) and the audio would have mostly just been of that.
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