In a move that harks back to the aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright, Ohio’s Ohio river valley is set to become a hub for cutting-edge electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturing. Joby Aviation Inc. has entered into an agreement with the state to build its first scaled manufacturing facility in the area, marking a significant milestone in the state’s aviation history.

Scheduled to launch at IFA 2023 in Berlin, this endeavor will leverage the state’s rich aviation heritage to usher in a new era of electric air travel. Joby’s eVTOL aircraft are designed to take off and land vertically, offering a potential solution to alleviate traffic congestion in urban areas.

The state of Ohio is enthusiastically embracing this transformative technology, as Republican Gov. Mike DeWine noted, “When you’re talking about air taxis, that’s the future.” The project is not only expected to create direct and indirect jobs but also sends a powerful signal that Ohio is at the forefront of innovation.

Joby’s eVTOL aircraft are poised to revolutionize urban transportation. With the ability to transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and a range of 100 miles, these aircraft are expected to become part of aerial ridesharing networks starting in 2025. Additionally, their quiet noise profile makes them a viable option for urban environments.

The Santa Cruz, California-based company boasts strategic partnerships with industry giants such as Toyota, Delta Air Lines, Intel, and Uber. Joby is the first eVTOL firm to receive U.S. Air Force airworthiness certification.

The $500 million project is supported by up to $325 million in incentives from the state of Ohio, JobsOhio, and local government. This substantial investment will enable Joby to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility capable of producing up to 500 aircraft annually, generating 2,000 jobs. Furthermore, Joby has been invited by the U.S. Department of Energy to apply for a loan to support the facility’s development as a clean energy project.

CEO JoeBen Bevirt explained that Ohio’s rich manufacturing heritage and workforce expertise in aviation were key factors in the decision to choose the state as the manufacturing hub. Ohio’s reputation as a top supplier for Boeing and Airbus, as well as its ranking as the third-largest state for manufacturing jobs in the U.S., made it an ideal location for Joby’s expansion.

Construction on the manufacturing facility is expected to commence in 2024, with production slated to start in 2025.

This development not only propels Ohio into the forefront of eVTOL aircraft manufacturing but also underscores the state’s enduring commitment to aviation innovation, marrying the legacy of the Wright brothers with the future of air travel.

By Impact Lab