United Airlines takes a big step toward an innovation in flying by investing in flying taxis.
Today, United Airlines announced a $15-million investment in Eve Air Mobility, a company that produces electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts (eVTOL).
United also signed a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat eVTOLs plus 200 options with first deliveries expected as early as 2026, according to the Eve news release.
The companies will also be joining forces on other projects including development studies, use and application of the new aircrafts, and the urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem.
“United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation,” says United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen.
Why it’s important
United has been working to make air travel more green and cut back on emissions. The company is one of the first major airlines to design a corporate venture fund to help.
The company’s corporate venture fund, United Airlines Venture (UAV), was created to help reach its 100% green commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 without the use of traditional offsets.
Through UAV, United has led the industry in investments in eVTOL and electric aircraft, hydrogen fuel cell engines, and sustainable aviation fuel. Last month, United gave a $10 million deposit to a California-based eVTOL company for 100 aircraft, according to the release.
eVTOLs are designed differently than regular aircrafts. Instead of using combustion engines, they are equipped with electric motors to provide carbon-free flights. A goal of the company is to use the eVTOLS as “air taxis” in big cities.
The aircrafts have a range of 60 miles to offer a sustainable trip and will also reduce noise levels by 90% compared to regular aircrafts. The company is also working on an air traffic solution for the eVTOLs.
Backing up a bit
United isn’t the only company working on a greener future.
Earlier in the year, Hawaiian Airlines invested in a Boston-based company that seeks to bring all-electric airplanes into commercial service, providing fast, efficient, and low-cost travel for regular, short-duration routes.
The goal of the company, Regent Craft, is to reduce the cost and hassle of regional transportation between coastal cities. It designed a 100-person, all-electric seaglider called the Monarch that will be zero-emission and half the cost to operate as a traditional aircraft.
The aircraft is slated to launch into the commercial space by 2028.