Joby Aviation is creating electric planes that can lift off and land vertically like helicopters but fly more like regular small planes. The idea of having lots of electric air taxis zipping people through the skies instead of dealing with crowded roads is becoming less like a fantasy and more like something that could actually happen.
The technology for batteries is getting better, making it feasible for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. These are like helicopters when taking off and landing but operate more like small planes during flight. However, the key question is whether there's a profitable business in manufacturing these aircraft.
JoeBen Bevirt is an evangelist for the new industry and the founder and CEO of Joby Aviation Inc., which delivered its first eVTOL to the Air Force last month. Bevirt insists that his Santa Cruz, California-based company, whose largest shareholder is Toyota (11%), can meet an ambitious target of entering commercial air taxi service in 2025..
Like other eVTOL startups, Joby is losing money — more than $400 million in 2021-2022. Analysts don’t know when, if ever, it will be profitable.
Bevirt spoke to The Associated Press. His comments have been edited for length and clarity.