France debuts its first eco-friendly, electric air taxi: ‘This is part of the solution’

·2-min read

Paris unveiled its first electric air taxi. The VoloCity by German-based company Volocopter is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Powered by electricity, rather than gas, the air taxi is designed to relieve pollution and traffic congestion in urban areas.

However, it can only transport two people, the pilot and a passenger, at a time and can only make short trips within a 35-kilometer range.

“We want to use this special occasion today to present you a world premiere, to allow all of you to see and feel the Volocopter taxi. It is safe, it is all electric and incredibly quiet so enjoy our VoloCity,” Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO, told the Associated Press.

The aircraft meets the requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and will likely become the first commercially certified air taxi in the world. The VoloCity will undergo tests near Paris at the Pontois airport in June 2021. If the air taxi passes, demonstration flights will debut at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“We are a little more than two years away from final certification, so we expect towards the end of 2022 we will see the first commercial routes and hopefully it will be Paris,” Reuter said.

Volocopter also makes a volodrone, an electric drone, made for transporting heavy cargo.

“We can revolutionize urban logistics. So it is really about bringing this new world of transportation for both passengers as well as goods,” Reuter told the Associated Press. “And we think there are specific use cases, specific routes, where we can bring tremendous value to existing options. So we think this is part of the solution, it’s not going to be the solution alone but it can add an attractive solution for specific use cases and routes in a city context.”

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