It is likely that if you hadn’t heard of eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) before, they may have landed on your radar last year.
Among the billions of dollars in capital, SPACs and test flights, there were countless companies touting their latest developments and technological milestones that brought us one step closer to commercializing air taxis.
The billions of dollars raised by eVTOL companies last year mean only one thing for 2022: massive growth. I’ve been working in the aircraft development space for decades, but 2021 was different.
Over the next two years, I’ll be monitoring four trends that will dramatically change the way these companies operate and impact how interested entrepreneurs and investors can participate in developing the nascent eVTOL ecosystem.
As an investor, I would keep a close eye on companies wondering what urban air mobility will look like in reality, as opposed to experimental prototypes.
The Competitive Landscape of the eVTOL Aircraft Market Is Going to Expand
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but this is a hot space, and every eVTOL vehicle developer will try to differentiate themselves as much as possible. This will create an enhanced competitive landscape between these companies, as well as future operators and infrastructure and service providers.
However, this is a good thing. Given the large addressable market of urban air mobility and the turnaround times required to get through such a complex operation, the diversification and competition will benefit the entire space, as opposed to just one or two companies.
As an investor, I would keep a close eye on companies wondering what urban air mobility will look like in reality, as opposed to experimental prototypes. When I say reality, I’m talking about a degree of scale and maturity – commercial eVTOLs flying paying riders on a large scale in a long-term market.
Unlike commercial jets, which are indistinguishable from the average airline passenger, most eVTOLs have strikingly different designs. What performance differences will result from these design differences? What economic factors will be important as the industry scales once the glitz and glamor of early demonstration flights is over? Why will riders and operators prefer certain eVTOLs over others?
Currently, experimental prototypes pay little attention to real-world requirements such as payload and weather reliability, but if riders want to save time getting to the airport for a long-haul flight, they need to be able to take their luggage with them, and they need to rely on the eVTOL to to be able to fly in weather conditions that jets do.