The Bell Nexus is Bell Flight's Air Taxi, of which there are two versions. The 6HX, unveiled at CES 2019, has a range of up to 150 miles and is optimized for inter-urban mobility, which necessitates the use of hybrid-electric propulsion. The all-electric Nexus 4EX, unveiled at CES 2020, is instead designed with up to 60-mile intra-urban flights in mind, which enables the powerplant to be completely reliant on the latest battery technologies.
Stage of Development
Aircraft Type: Winged VTOL
Powerplant: 6HX - Hybrid-Electric; 4EX - All-Electric
Range: 6HX - 150 miles; 4EX - 60 miles
Top Speed: 150 mph
Propeller Configuration: 6HX - 6 tilt-rotors; 4EX - 4 tilt-rotors (all 8ft in diameter)
Passenger Capacity: 1 pilot, 4 passengers
Autonomy Level: Semi-Autonomous
Dimensions: Exact dimensions TBD. Rotors have 8ft Diameter.
Key Suppliers: Moog (flight control hardware), Thales (flight control software), EPS (battery), Safran (gas-turbine propulsion system), Garmin (avionics).
Our Take on the Bell Nexus
Bell Flight has released their prototype for their Air Taxi, which was kept under wraps less the release of the cabin mock-up of the then "Bell Air Taxi" at CES in 2018. The company's announcement that the aircraft will be hybrid-electric, along with the confirmation that Bell Flight will be partnering with a number of well-respected aerospace companies on its eVTOL design adds much-desired clarity and definition to the path forward for Bell.
Bell Flight's experience in mass-producing helicopters and other aircraft will prove valuable as the company begins their production phase. Common among urban aviation manufacturing challenges is complex geometry composite fabrication at scale, as well as integration of entirely new systems, like that of the hybrid electric propulsion planned to be used on the Nexus.