Jet builder Embraer and its subsidiary Eve Air Mobility will establish the first manufacturing plant in Taubaté, Brazil, for their electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) products. Last month Eve stated it will start the assembly of its first full-scale eVTOL prototype in the second half of this year, followed by a test campaign in 2024. It expects to start commercial operations for its first eVTOL in 2026.
eVTOLs are “air taxis” projected to fill a need for short-distance transport of passengers and cargo. Eve is one of several eVTOL start-ups in development now (others include ventures by Airbus, Boeing, Honda, Stellantis, and Toyota) anticipating demand for air taxi operations for urban or local transportation and delivery services.
The Embraer subsidiary is developing not only the electric aircraft but also a global service and support network and air-traffic-management technology.
The Eve aircraft design uses fixed wings, rotors, and pushers, and has a projected range of 60 miles (100 km), for “sustainable” application as a carbon-free commuter vehicle and to reduce noise levels compared to current conventional aircraft, as detailed by United in its announcement.
The first test of the Eve aircraft was completed in 2018 and a proof-of-concept flight was conducted in 2020. Simulator flights of the system were carried out in Rio de Janeiro in 2021.
Recently, Eve named three significant suppliers to its manufacturing program: Nidec Aerospace LLC, a joint venture of Nidec Corp. and Embraer, will provide the electric propulsion system; BAE Systems will provide an advanced energy storage system; and DUC Hélice Propellers will supply rotors and propellers.
Embraer and Eve said the Taubaté manufacturing site, near Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos offers highway and railroad access as well as proximity to engineering and human resources that will support development of new production processes.
“When we began our search for a manufacturing location to build our eVTOL, we wanted to reimagine how the aircraft could be built using the latest technology and manufacturing processes, coupled with other aspects such as supply chain and logistics,” stated Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve. “Our objective is to offer safe and reliable products and services to the market and be highly competitive in manufacturing efficiency. The team was tasked with the opportunity to design an optimized assembly line that prioritizes safety, quality, efficiency, productivity and sustainability.”