When the words Rolls-Royce come up, the mind immediately links them to the British maker of luxury automobiles for some reason. But the same name has been behind some of the aviation industry’s biggest advancements over the decades, and it will probably continue to do so in the years ahead. The same name, but not the same company, as Rolls-Royce keeps reminding people.
It is Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, an aerospace and defense company we’re here to talk about today. Together with Vertical Aerospace, also a British company, they’re on the verge of developing one of the world’s first certified passenger carrying eVTOLs.
eVTOL stands for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, and according to some people, this will be one of the main means of transportation in the near future. VA-4X is how Vertical’s upcoming flying machine is called, a flying contraption equipped with no less than eight propellers.
Vertical plans to take the VA-4X to the skies for the first time by the end of the year and targets the start of production in 2024. When ready, the machine will be capable of taking up to four people on 120-mile (193-km) journeys at speeds of up to 200 mph (322 kph).
Partially tasked with making these figures become a reality is Rolls-Royce. The company will provide Vertical the electrical power system, marking the first time the British company gets to play in the urban air mobility market.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft,” said Rob Watson, Director of the Rolls-Royce Electrical team.
“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.”
Exact details on the solution to be provided by Rolls-Royce were not revealed, but we are told 150 engineers from Hungary, Germany, U.S. and the UK will be working on this.