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The Future of Electric Aircraft and eVTOLs

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  • 130 Pages
  • October 2022
  • Region: Global
  • Berg Insight AB
  • ID: 5665706

There are today many large-scale industrial projects evolving around the world with the purpose of developing aircraft and eVTOLs based on electric drivetrains. At the same time, the electrification of the aviation industry represents a challenge as the industry is heavily regulated and has a strong commitment to safe operations and redundant systems. The flight range is anticipated to be limited in the first decades but due to fast, efficient, sustainable and silent operations they will be able to create new connectivity within large urban areas, between cities, from rural regions to cities and between rural areas. There are many suitable use cases from passenger transportation to cargo transportation,
surveillance, healthcare and firefighting.

Hundreds of eVTOL design projects have started up worldwide. However, only a few of these are large concepts for commercial operations with 4 or more passengers. There is a market for both commercial and private eVTOLs. Looking at the specifications of the commercial eVTOLs that are closest to be certified, many of them are large vehicles with wingspans of up to 15 metres, something that needs to be considered when developing ground infrastructure as well as working with city planning, passenger processing and safety issues. Examples of eVTOL vendors include Archer, Beta Technologies, Ehang, Eve Air Mobility, Joby Aviation, Lilium, Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace and Wisk.

There are also a number of companies working on electric aircraft and drivetrains. The market is characterised by having both established aviation companies developing vehicles and solutions as well as start-ups and tech companies doing the same thing. These companies that have completely different backgrounds, address the challenge in different ways, which will result in several possible solutions and design pathways. Examples of electric aircraft vendors include Heart Aerospace, Pipistrel, Eviation and Bye Aerospace.

Before 2030 we will probably see some of the first piloted eVTOLs in commercial use. Between 2031-2035 the ecosystem and acceptance will develop, and we might see around 20,000 vehicles being delivered globally during this period. Fewer if certification and regulation is taking longer than anticipated and up to 30,000 vehicles if things fall into place quicker than forecasted. From 2036 until 2050 the publisher forecasts almost 60,000 deliveries in their mid scenario. In the high scenario the publisher sees that the total number of deliveries could reach approximately 150,000 vehicles between 2025-2050. The high scenario is based on a favourable regulatory environment where the long-term airspace management has been solved as well as the approval for autonomous flights.

There is also a market for private eVTOLs. When assuming favourable conditions, an estimate is that the total market might be shipments of up to 300,000 vehicles during 2025-2050. Most of these will be small two-seaters and the majority of them will be delivered in the later part of the forecast period.

These vehicles will all need advanced avionics, connectivity, Electric aircraft and eVTOLs pave the way for a greener future and avoid and detect technology but at the same time need to be cost-efficient solutions. A tricky combination since the regulatory demands will be very strict.

It will take some years before the first certified aircraft is ready for production. The forecast is based on an aircraft size of 6-19 seats for battery powered aircraft and 19-90 seats for hydrogen (fuel-cell) powered aircraft. This excludes the smallest aircraft types that will probably be used by for example flight schools. Due to the complex certification pathway and the dependence of new ground and charging infrastructure, the publisher forecasts that only a few hundred aircraft will be delivered before 2030. In the five-year period between 2031-2035 we see the market taking off with more than 1,000 aircraft being delivered in the mid scenario. Some of the addressable market for electric aircraft is based on the replacement of the current fleet of small aircraft up to 19 seats.

This is however a comparatively small market and also a new market for regional air mobility needs to be developed. The forecast points towards a market that will take off from 2035 onwards. It will take time to develop production capacity and solve ground infrastructure challenges but with more efficient drivetrains the use case and economics look favourable in the longer term. Between 2036-2050 the publisher estimates in the mid scenario shipments of more than 18,000 aircraft. In the high scenario the publisher estimates more than 25,000 electric aircraft being delivered during the same period.

Electric aircraft and eVTOLs (for commercial and private use) will need advanced connectivity. Cellular connectivity is one of the prominent technologies available to support the use cases in urban areas. The upcoming LDACS (L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System) standard is a secure, scalable and spectrum efficient terrestrial data link for civil aviation and a cellular broadband system with support for IPv6 standard. Satellite systems can also complement the ground-based architectures, particularly the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite constellations. The number of connected vehicles will take off from 2030 and then increase steadily. The publisher estimates almost 75,000 connected vehicles for passenger use already 2035 and between 350,000-450,000 in 2050. Many of these are smaller and privately owned eVTOLs.

Highlights from the report

  • Insights from numerous executive interviews with market leading companies.
  • Comprehensive description of the electric aircraft and eVTOL value chain and key use cases.
  • Analysis of the ground infrastructure needed and how eVTOLs will be handled in the airspace.
  • In-depth analysis of market trends and key developments.
  • Profiles of 20 electric aircraft and eVTOL manufacturers.
  • Summary of the certification process and handling of safety concerns.
  • Market forecasts and scenario analysis lasting until 2050.

This report answers the following questions

  • What are the drivers behind the electrification of aircraft and eVTOLs?
  • Which are the main challenges when electrifying airborne vehicles?
  • What regulations and standards need to be in place?
  • What are the strategies and timelines for some of the leading vehicle developers?
  • What is the roadmap and timeline for the implementation of autonomous flights?
  • Which are the main risk and safety aspects and how will they be handled?
  • What IoT connectivity solutions are needed for these new vehicles?
  • How will the aircraft and eVTOLs be certified?

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 The aviation market
1.2 The concept of electric aviation
1.3 Drivers behind electrification of aircraft and eVTOLs
1.3.1 Reduced costs
1.3.2 Regional travel market
1.3.3 Emissions reductions
1.3.4 Noise reductions
1.3.5 Increased accessibility
1.3.6 Economic development

2 Electric Aircraft and eVTOLs
2.1 Electric aircraft
2.1.1 Retrofit
2.1.2 Traditional design
2.1.3 New design
2.1.4 Size versus range
2.1.5 Battery versus hydrogen
2.2 eVTOLs
2.2.1 Wingless multicopter
2.2.2 Fixed wing
2.2.3 Tilted wing and/or propellers
2.3 Risk assessment regarding eVTOLs
2.3.1 Certification
2.3.2 Infrastructure
2.3.3 Technology
2.3.4 Operations
2.3.5 Public awareness

3 Technology Overview
3.1 Batteries
3.2 Hydrogen
3.3 Airframes
3.4 Communications technology and autonomous flight
3.4.1 Navigation and communications systems
3.4.2 IoT connectivity
3.4.3 A possible pathway to autonomous flights

4 Ecosystem and Regulatory Framework
4.1 Ecosystem
4.1.1 Charging
4.1.2 Battery power - challenges
4.1.3 Hydrogen power - challenges
4.1.4 Take off and landing infrastructure
4.1.5 Airport infrastructure
4.1.6 MRO
4.2 Regulatory framework
4.2.1 Certification and standardisation
4.2.2 Safety
4.2.3 Airspace management
4.2.4 Sustainability

5 Regional Air Mobility and Urban Air Mobility
5.1 Regional Air Mobility - possible market development and use cases
5.1.1 How will the market evolve - different scenarios
5.1.2 User experience
5.2 Urban Air Mobility - possible market development and use cases
5.2.1 How will the market evolve - different scenarios
5.2.2 User experience
5.3 Implications for regional and city planning
5.3.1 Education
5.3.2 Permits
5.3.3 Short term city planning
5.3.4 Long term city planning
5.3.5 Regional planning
5.3.6 Transport planning and integration

6 Company Profiles and Strategies
6.1 Aircraft
6.1.1 Bye Aerospace
6.1.2 Eviation
6.1.3 Heart Aerospace
6.1.4 MagniX
6.1.5 Pipistrel
6.1.6 Universal Hydrogen
6.1.7 Wright Electric
6.1.8 ZeroAvia
6.2 eVTOLs
6.2.1 Archer
6.2.2 Beta Technologies
6.2.3 CityAirbus NextGen
6.2.4 EHang
6.2.5 Eve Air Mobility
6.2.6 Joby Aviation
6.2.7 Lilium
6.2.8 Supernal
6.2.9 Volocopter
6.2.10 XPeng (AeroHT)
6.2.11 Vertical Aerospace
6.2.12 Wisk

7 Market Forecasts and Scenarios
7.1 Market segmentation
7.2 Market size
7.2.1 Commercial eVTOLs
7.2.2 Privately owned eVTOLs
7.2.3 Electric aircraft
7.2.4 The current electric eVTOL and aircraft order stock
7.2.5 IoT Connectivity
7.3 Market value
7.4 Business models and use cases
7.5 Concluding remarks

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of Figures
Figure 1.1: IATA strategy towards net zero
Figure 2.1: Example of a retrofit design
Figure 2.2: Example of a traditional design
Figure 2.3: Example of a new design
Figure 2.4: Linear and nodal transportation networks
Figure 2.5: Example of wingless multicopter design
Figure 2.6: Example of fixed wing design
Figure 2.7: Example of tilted propeller design
Figure 3.1: Schematic of electric propulsion concepts
Figure 3.2: Schematic of energy efficiency for electric and fuel cell propulsion
Figure 3.3: Potential range for battery all-electric aircraft
Figure 4.1: The ecosystem of advanced air mobility
Figure 4.2: Examples of vertiport designs
Figure 4.3: Commercial certification of electric aircraft (forecast)
Figure 4.4: Commercial certification of piloted eVTOL (forecast)
Figure 4.5: Sensor technologies to be used by eVTOLs
Figure 4.6: eVTOL Control Centre
Figure 5.1: Potential market for different vehicles
Figure 5.2: Example of range and use cases for regional air mobility
Figure 5.3: Commercial implementation steps
Figure 5.4: Examples of potential eVTOL use cases
Figure 6.1: Number of global eVTOL projects
Figure 6.2: eFlyer 800 specifications
Figure 6.3: Eviation Alice specifications
Figure 6.4: Heart ES-30 specifications
Figure 6.5: Magni 350 EPU and Magni 650 EPU specifications
Figure 6.6: Pipistrel Velis Electro specifications
Figure 6.7: Roadmap regarding drivetrain
Figure 6.8: Archer eVTOL vehicle specifications
Figure 6.9: Beta Alia specifications
Figure 6.10: CityAirbus NextGen specifications
Figure 6.11: EH216 and VT-30 specifications
Figure 6.12: Eve eVTOL vehicle specifications
Figure 6.13: Joby S4 specifications
Figure 6.14: Lilium Jet specifications
Figure 6.15: S-A1 specifications
Figure 6.16: VoloCity and VoloConnect specifications
Figure 6.17: X2 specifications
Figure 6.18: VX4 specifications
Figure 6.19: Wisk eVTOL vehicle specifications
Figure 7.1: Passenger aircraft timeline
Figure 7.2: eVTOL timeline
Figure 7.3: Shipments of eVTOLs (2021-2050)
Figure 7.4: Shipments of privately owned eVTOLs (2021-2050)
Figure 7.5: Shipments of electric aircraft (2021-2050)
Figure 7.6: Connected vehicles in commercial and private use (2021-2050)
Figure 7.7: Commercial eVTOL market value (2021-2050)
Figure 7.8: Private eVTOL market value (2021-2050)
Figure 7.9: Electric aircraft market value (2021-2050)
Figure 7.10: Electric aircraft market value (2021-2050)
Figure 7.11: Use case: eVTOL vertiport in a small city
Figure 7.12: Use case: eVTOL vertiport in a dense urban area
Figure 7.13: Use case: Regional airport/airfield - an initial scenario

Companies Mentioned

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:

  • Archer 
  • Beta Technologies
  • Bye Aerospace 
  • CityAirbus NextGen 
  • EHang
  • Eve Air Mobility 
  • Eviation 
  • Heart Aerospace
  • Joby Aviation 
  • Lilium 
  • MagniX
  • Pipistrel 
  • Supernal 
  • Universal Hydrogen
  • Vertical Aerospace
  • Volocopter 
  • Wisk 
  • Wright Electric 
  • XPeng (AeroHT)
  • ZeroAvia