More capital than ever is streaming into emerging technologies, including the burgeoning passenger air mobility space. From eVTOL to air taxis, VC activity is at an all-time high and the impacts of this momentum are likely be felt in cities around the globe in the years to come. In this blog post, we take a closer look at passenger air mobility and how everyday people might leverage these technologies in the future. Plus, we provide some additional details on the air mobility’s segments and give examples of companies that fall within each. 

To dive even deeper into this topic, download PitchBook’s recent eVTOL Air Taxis Startup Handbook or take a listen to our recent In Visible Capital podcast episode about emerging technologies—including air taxis. 
 

What is eVTOL?

eVTOL stands for electric vertical takeoff and landing, and it’s used describe a type of aircraft that uses electric power to takeoff, land and hover vertically. In PitchBook’s eVTOL Air Taxi Startup Handbook, Senior Analyst Asad Hussain says that eVTOLs are part of the broader passenger air mobility industry, a space we dive into further below.

“The whole idea behind [eVTOL] is replacing internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, like helicopters, to lower the cost of urban transportation and reduce both emissions and traffic congestion,” Hussain says.

What are the main advantages of eVTOL?

Compared to helicopters, eVTOLs are significantly less noisy—eVTOL aircraft developers are targeting up to a 20 decibel noise reduction. 

Cities and urban spaces are already epicenters for noise pollution, and Hussain says quieter operations will be crucial for allowing a higher frequency of eVTOL flights and the expansion of routes closer to residential areas. 

“Practically, the result is that you can operate many more flights during the same amount of time, and so you can ultimately move more people and operate a more profitable mobility service,” he says. 

Other advantages of eVTOLs compared to helicopters include:

 

  • Fewer maintenance requirements as a result of multiple rotors with more redundancy
  • Lower operational costs because of fewer maintenance intervals and no fuel costs
  • Longer-term, they’re more controllable and therefore a more feasible option for autonomy

What are air taxis?

Air taxis refer to urban, on-demand air transportation via eVTOL aircraft. This emerging space represents an emission-free, low-noise, there-when-you-need-it alternative to ground-based transportation at a lower cost than a typical rideshare. As we reported a few years ago, flights would originate from vertiports on the tops of parking garages and skyscrapers in city centers, and deliver passengers to their individual destinations.

What could the future hold for air taxis?

PitchBook forecasts that the global air taxi passenger mobility market to grow from approximately $1.5 billion in 2025 to more than $150 billion by 2035. “When I look out at the extended timeline, the high capital needs required, and compare that with the 100+ startups developing air taxi technology, I think a shakeout is in the cards,” Hussain says. “But the end of this decade, I would be very surprised if there are more than half a dozen air taxi startups left remaining in the market.”

What is the passenger air mobility industry?

The passenger air mobility industry includes eVTOL aircraft manufacturers, their enablement technologies and air taxi service providers, and it has the potential to significantly disrupt the urban mobility landscape.

Despite facing technological and regulatory hurdles, PitchBook analysts believe nontraditional investors—like manufacturers and corporates—will continue to fund research and development in the space, helping drive a new wave of innovation.

What segments exist within air mobility?

Segments within the air mobility industry include:

 

More about mobility tech

Dive deep into air taxis and the passenger air mobility space 
Download PitchBook’s eVTOL Air Taxi Startup Handbook

On the podcast: Discovering emerging technologies
Listen to S3 E7 of In Visible Capital, which covers emerging technologies from air taxis to real estate

Learn how SPACs are sweeping the mobility tech industry
Download PitchBook’s EV/Mobility SPAC Handbook

See what the next generation of urban mobility will look like  
Read our blog post about urban mobility, mobility tech and its segments

Explore mobility tech, including VC-backed companies, market maps, business models and more
Download the Q3 2020 Emerging Tech Research report on mobility tech

On the podcast: Hear from industry professionals
Listen to S2 E8 of In Visible Capital all about cities as stakeholders in mobility

 

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