Say goodbye to traffic!
The 21st century has seen cars rapidly evolving, with electric mobility becoming a staple of modern travel. But as every manufacturer tries to find a way to innovate in the sphere of mobility, we're seeing more and more automakers looking to alternate means of transportation - like the Porsche Taycan based Star Wars fighter ship or the Mercedes powerboat inspired by the Mercedes-AMG One. But get ready, because Toyota has committed $394 million towards the development of a zero-emissions electric helicopter. We guess the Toyota Prius simply doesn't have the same Hollywood bragging rights as it once did.
In partnership with Joby Aviation, Toyota is investing in a future of alternate mobility to try and access the potential of urban-air mobility. The project Toyota is contributing towards has been dubbed the eVTOL, or Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft, an all-electric chopper of sorts that's intended to enable fast, quiet, and affordable air transportation with an eco-friendly conscience.
According to Toyota Motor Corporation's President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, "Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky." He goes on to say that the Japanese automaker is looking to "revolutionize future transportation and life" and "deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere."
It's not the first time Toyota has delved into electric mobility, but with a 150+ mile range, the eVTOL can cover more than twice the distance of other Toyota EVs like the pint-sized Toyota BEV unveiled in 2019.
Toyota takes on the role of Joby's lead investor in the $590 million Series C project, and in addition to a monetary contribution, Toyota will be sharing its manufacturing, quality, and cost control expertise for the development and production of the eVTOL aircraft.
It's early days for the project still and details are scant, but according to Joby, the eVTOL aircraft is a four-seater passenger craft that takes off and lands vertically - like a regular helicopter - but uses five individual motors with an all-electric powertrain. Joby says this is 100 times quieter than a regular chopper, and if claims are to be believed, the eVTOL can travel more than 150 miles on a single charge at speeds of up to 200 mph.