Vertical Aerospace has selected Rolls-Royce to develop electric motors for its prototype. The eVTOL configuration features 4 tilting motors and 4 vertical lift motors. The hybrid configuration allows for speeds up to 200mph and a 120-mile range.
According to Rolls-Royce, “Vertical Aerospace is a key collaboration for Rolls-Royce Electrical as it marks our first commercial deal in the UAM market and builds on previous agreements to work with partners on demonstrator programs. Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes our latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.”
“We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft,” says Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical. “This exciting opportunity demonstrates our ambitions to be a leading supplier of sustainable complete power systems for the new Urban Air Mobility market which has the potential to transform the way that people and freight move from city to city.”
Michael Cervenka, CEO of Vertical Aerospace, says “Rolls-Royce [brings] a hugely experienced team with deep expertise and cutting-edge electrical technologies to power our pioneering eVTOL aircraft.”
Rolls Royce anticipates Vertical Aerospace will certify its prototype in 2024 and has 150 engineers across the globe supporting the program.
Why it matters: The announcement marks the first firm eVTOL contract for Rolls-Royce. The company has been working on developing hybrid-electric eVTOL platforms since at least 2018 and Vertical Aerospace believes they have the technical prowess to deliver on their mission requirements. The partnership is also unique in that many eVTOL OEM’s choose to develop propulsion platforms in-house, so outsourcing the system offloads some R&D risk and could become a competitive advantage when going to certify.