Joby and Toyota deepen ties with extend eVTOL partnership

Joby and Toyota are moving forward with an extended partnership that aims to bring eVTOL to the consumer market in the next few years.
John Loeffler
A Joby Aviation eVTOL in flight
A Joby Aviation eVTOL in flight

Joby Aviation, a California-based company developing electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOLs), is aiming to bring their speedy and quiet electric aircraft to market in cities around the world, and Toyota has agreed to provide critical parts to help make that happen.

In a new statement announcing the partnership, Joby says that Toyota will supply powertrain and actuation components to Joby's California powertrain facility for assembly before being shipped to the company's pilot production line in Marina.

"Our partnership with Toyota continues to be an integral part of Joby’s success," said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, "from assisting in the design of our pilot production line in Marina, California, to supplying key components for our aircraft.”

As Joby's largest partner, Toyota is making a major investment in eVTOLs as a practical transportation system for cities and regional use, much like how helicopters are used to ferry people around and to and from cities to suburban locations just outside of them. Joby's ambition though is to expand this form of transportation far beyond existing VTOL infrastructure as it exists today. Deepening its partnership with Toyota definitely helps that ambition get one step closer to reality.

"We are very pleased to have reached this milestone with our key partner," Toyota Motor Corporation Connected Company president Keiji Yamamoto said, according to Electrek. "Our mutual goal is mass production of eVTOL and helping Joby apply the best practices of the Toyota Production System in meeting high quality, reliability, safety, and strict cost standards. We are excited about the potential for further collaboration as we seek to realize Mobility for All with a seamlessly integrated air-to-ground mobility network.

Will eVTOLs ever get off the ground?

The eVTOL has been around for a few years in preproduction or in very limited use, with nothing quite reaching the kind of mass production that proponents have been aiming for. The future of "flying electric taxis" has been long on hype, but short on delivery for some time now, and while Joby has been a major player on the scene, they are hardly the only company hoping to get their eVTOL operation off the ground.

Swedish firm Jetson recently made news with the release of its first flying car, the Jetson One, while Australian VTOL firm AMSL Aero has successfully tested its Vertiia VTOL electric-hydrogen hybrid that has a range of 620 miles (though that aircraft is still very early in its preproduction phase).

Still, many eVTOLs are languishing in development, and you wouldn't be blamed for being somewhat skeptical. With the new announcement of Toyota's deepening involvement in Joby's production, however, there is at least some reason for optimism that one of these eVTOLs might actually reach a critical mass and usher in a new era of electric transportation.

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