Bell and Safran announced on Tuesday that they’d be working together on Bell’s new eVTOL system. Bell will be responsible for the design cycle, including manufacturing of the eVTOL, with Safran providing “a disruptive propulsion system”, according to Safran’s press release.
Scott Brennan, Bell’s Director of Innovation, commented at a transit conference in Cologne: “This announcement is another proof point of our commitment to providing transportation of people and logistics in new, innovative and more efficient ways. Our work with Safran is a historical milestone for future transport solutions.”
While the announcement will undoubtedly aid Bell with their propulsion system, not much has been publicly released regarding their VTOL concept since the unveiling of the cabin of their Air Taxi at CES in January 2018 – detailed in TransportUP’s article here. This partnership leverages experience from Safran, but may also be Bell acknowledging the technical difficulties of hybridized eVTOL transport design and searching for heavy hitters in industry to provide a tailor-made solution.
Why it’s important: This announcement marks a large partnership between a propulsion and aerospace design company. While these partnerships are very common in the traditional aerospace industry, many eVTOL manufacturers are opting to insource their propulsion system to maintain complete control over the product that they’re designing. The Bell Safran partnership will certainly bring more experience and focused expertise to the table, but may also induce additional coordination challenges as integration of the eVTOL amplifies any small discrepancies that occurred during the design process.