Rolls-Royce to power Vertical’s eVOTL UAM

  • March 24, 2021
  • William Payne

Rolls-Royce’s technology will power an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft from eVTOL startup Vertical Aerospace. Capable of travelling 120 miles at speeds of over 200 mph, carrying four passengers and one pilot, the VA-X4 is set to be one of the world’s first certified passenger carrying eVTOLs.

A Rolls-Royce electrical power system will be integrated into the VA-X4 which is on course to be certified through the CAA and EASA in 2024. Vertical has already flown two full-scale eVTOL prototypes with UK Civil Aviation Authority approval.

Vertical Aerospace is a key collaboration for Rolls-Royce Electrical as it marks the company’s first commercial deal in the UAM market and builds on previous agreements to work with partners on demonstrator programmes. 

Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes its latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.

Around 150 Rolls-Royce engineers based in countries including Hungary, Singapore, Germany, US and the UK will work with the Vertical Aerospace team on developing the aircraft. Build of VA-X4 will begin shortly with assembly taking place in the UK and the first flight happening this year.

Rolls-Royce recently announced a partnership with Tecnam and major worldwide aviation players for the development of the P-Volt: an all-electric, twin electric motor, short and medium range passenger aircraft, designed for maximum versatility and safety, powered by renewable energy. 

Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft. 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.”

Michael Cervenka, CEO – Vertical Aerospace said: “We are excited to collaborate with Rolls-Royce, bringing onboard a hugely experienced team with deep expertise and cutting-edge electrical technologies to power our pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This collaboration builds on our existing partnerships and Vertical is well-positioned to develop the world’s leading eVTOL aircraft, certified to the highest CAA and EASA safety standards being set globally.”