United Airlines is expanding its presence in the flying taxi industry. The airline not only invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility, but it also ordered 200 flying taxis and has an option for another 200. Eve’s four-seater electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL) is expected to arrive at United as early as 2026.
According to the company, its investment was motivated by both its belief in the urban air mobility market and Eve’s working relationship with Embraer. Embrarer is a “trusted aircraft manufacturer with a proven track record of building and certifying aircraft over the company’s 53-year history,” according to United. Embrarer previously collaborated with Uber on a flying taxi project, which the latter eventually abandoned.
Eve’s flying taxi features traditional fixed wings, rotors, and pushers, as well as a design that United claims prioritises safety, efficiency, reliability, and certifiability. It has a range of 60 miles, and United claims it can “reduce noise levels by 90% compared to current conventional aircraft.”
This isn’t the first time United has collaborated with an eVTOL company. It put down a $10 million deposit with another California-based company last month for 100 flying taxis. As a result, the company has ordered up to 500 flying taxis to add to its fleet.
United has established a corporate venture fund to support its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets. It has also invested in hydrogen fuel cell engines and sustainable fuel through the United Airlines Ventures fund.
“Today, United is making history again by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies,” said Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures. “We believe that our suite of clean energy technologies will revolutionise air travel as we know it and serve as a catalyst for the aviation industry to transition to a more sustainable future.”