Electric Air Taxi Charger to be Installed in Southern California

One of Joby's electric air taxis flies above Marina, California

(Credit: Joby Aviation)

by | Jan 9, 2024

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Joby Aviation has signed an agreement with Clay Lacy Aviation to install electric air taxi chargers at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

The chargers are being installed as a part of Joby’s Global Electric Aviation Charging System (GEACS). The GEACS charging interface is already being used at Joby’s flight test center, supporting charging for all electric aircraft in development, including the company’s emissions-free air taxi.

The charging system is a part of Clay Lacy’s redevelopment of a terminal used for private flights at John Wayne Airport, a $100 million endeavor expected to be completed in 2025. The development is also reportedly on track to be the first of its kind to be Gold-certified by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

“The charging technology we have developed is optimized to support our whole industry, from air taxis delivering short-range city flights to more conventional electric aircraft flying longer distances,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “Joby made the specifications for the universal charging interface freely available to the wider industry in November 2023, to help accelerate the transition to clean flight. We’re therefore very pleased to see it being adopted in this key market.”

Electric Air Travel Becomes Gradually More Viable

The Joby electric air taxi, meant for transportation traditionally carried out by private helicopters, will be used for routes of up to 100 miles and may carry a pilot and four passengers. In 2022, the company announced an agreement with Delta to offer city-to-airport transportation with zero-emissions, low-noise aircraft in New York and Los Angeles.

Joby completed its first electric air taxi flight in New York City last year, from a downtown heliport to John F. Kennedy International Airport, in about seven minutes.

Electric air travel, while not expected to be widely commercially available for many years, has experienced some promising developments as of late. For example, sustainable aviation company, H2FLY, completed the world’s first piloted flight of a hydrogen-powered electric aircraft in September of 2023. The H2FLY aircraft maintains a range of about 930 miles and was able to fly for over three hours.

Small Electric Aircraft May Address Concerns Over Private Air Travel Emissions

Developments in electric air transport have generally centered around smaller aircraft, or the size used for most private air flights. Private air travel has received scrutiny for causing considerably more emissions per passenger than commercial flights and for making seemingly superfluous short trips. Electric air travel may allow for such short-distance travel without the environmental impact of currently-used private jets.

Joby’s zero-emissions air taxis may be used for short distances and may accommodate most locations. The aircraft are powered by six electric motors, and they take off and land vertically. Joby said it envisions the air taxis to eventually be used like a rideshare service, with passengers booking flights through an app, and the company compares the experience to riding in an SUV.

 

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