Bentonville, USA / Bruchsal, Germany (7 June 2022)– Today at the UP.Summit, an annual gathering of leaders in transportation innovation hosted by investment firm UP.Partners, urban air mobility (UAM) pioneer Volocopter announced that it has achieved another milestone to bring UAM to life: its fixed-winged passenger aircraft, the VoloConnect, completed its first flight in May 2022. This accomplishment makes Volocopter the only eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) developer in the Western hemisphere to have an entire fleet of distinct aircraft configurations undergoing flight tests.*
Volocopter’s third product solution, the VoloConnect, offers further and faster journeys than any other Volocopter aircraft to date, with a range of over 60 mi and flight speeds above 155 mph. The passenger plane’s extended range and higher payload will bring business travelers and commuters beyond the city center on routes like Burbank to Huntington Beach in Los Angeles, CA. With the VoloCity and VoloConnect air taxi designs fulfilling demands for metropolitan flights and suburban connections in densely populated regions respectively, Volocopter is ready to serve a broader range of passengers’ flight needs. Moreover, the VoloConnect is targeting a 2026 entry into service, while the VoloCity is targeting commercial launch in 2024.
A dedicated team in Munich, led by Sebastian Mores, Chief Engineer, VoloConnect, is responsible for this success to bring the VoloConnect prototype to life.
Volocopter designed the VoloConnect and its other eVTOL aircraft to meet the highest aviation safety standards according to EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). The prototype completed its first flight in May 2022 after just 17 months in the making and performed a few maneuvers for 2 minutes and 14 seconds during its first flight. The prototype has all the planned aerodynamics and performance features of the future commercial product.
The VoloConnect is a lift-and-cruise aircraft optimized for missions beyond the urban and suburban space. Keeping moving parts to a minimum, its six rotors facilitate vertical takeoff, while two electric fans in combination with uplift-creating wings ensure high forward speeds. The VoloConnect prototype is currently being put through a demanding series of flight tests to verify that the aircraft and its systems are in line with the performance limits and prepared for the subsequent development steps. This phase encompasses a raft of different tests, including standardized low-speed, transition, high-speed, and engine failure testing for automated and later autonomous flights – all standard-issue tests for an eVTOL passenger aircraft manufacturer. Within the first three test flights of this campaign, the team was able to verify a significant portion of the eVTOL’s envelope with forward speeds up to 40 mph and 28 mph sideward flight speeds during tests. The test flight envelope will be gradually opened as part of the test flight campaign over the coming weeks.
VoloConnect is poised to boost Volocopter’s total addressable UAM market, alongside its existing aircraft family members, the VoloDrone and VoloCity. The technological differences between the VoloCity and VoloConnect passenger aircraft abound. Most important to note are their unique configuration designs for their specific flight missions, with the multirotor VoloCity air taxi poised to serve intracity routes, while its larger lift-and-cruise sibling will focus on longer urban and suburban missions.
For future services, Volocopter intends to fully integrate all three aircraft into individualized UAM ecosystems for cities and use its VoloIQ digital platform to unite all of the company’s flight operations, passenger services, maintenance, and more for a seamless mobility experience.
* Updated 8. June 2022
Hosted by mobility investment firm UP.Partners, the UP.Summit has become known as the “Davos of Mobility”. UP.Summit is an invitation-only gathering of the world’s most innovative minds working together to Transform the Moving World. Leaders of the most impactful companies moving people and goods gather each year with the goal of accelerating progress toward cleaner, faster, safer, and lower cost mobility solutions on the ground, in the air, over the oceans, and in space. The UP.Summit was founded in 2017 and is jointly organized by UP.Partners, Tom and Steuart Walton, and Ross Perot Jr, rotating between Bentonville, AR and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX each year.
Transportation is the underlying fabric of society. With a mission of Transforming the Moving World, UP.Partners invests in the pioneering entrepreneurs who are creating technologies that help move people and goods cleaner, faster, safer, and lower cost -on the ground, in the air, over the oceans, and in space. UP.Partners joins swith some of the world’s most innovative investors and companies including Alaska Airlines, ARK Invest, and Woven Capital, the investment arm of Toyota subsidiary Woven Planet Group. UP.Summit convenes the mobility community’s brightest minds each year to help humanity go UP. Together, the UP community is transforming the moving world. For more information, visit UP.Partners or follow on Twitter @UpPartnersVC or LinkedIn.
Volocopter brings urban air mobility (UAM) to megacities worldwide. We aim to improve the quality of life for people in cities by offering a fantastic new mode of transportation. For that, we create sustainable and scalable UAM ecosystems with partners in infrastructure and operations.
Volocopter’s family of eVTOL aircraft will offer passengers (VoloCity and VoloConnect) and goods (VoloDrone) swift, secure, and emission-free connections to their destinations, supported by VoloIQ, the UAM ecosystem’s software platform that serves as its digital backbone for safe and efficient operations.
As a pioneer in the UAM industry, Volocopter will launch commercial services within the next few years. Founded in 2011, the company employs more than 500 people in Germany and Singapore, has completed over 1,500 successful public and private test flights, and raised $579 million in equity from investors, including Geely, WP Investment, Mercedes-Benz Group, Intel Capital, and BlackRock. www.volocopter.com