Santa Cruz, California-based Joby Aviation has completed the longest test flight of an eVTOL to date: Its unnamed full-sized prototype aircraft concluded a trip of over 150 miles on a single charge, the company said Monday.
The test was completed at Joby’s Electric Flight Base in Big Sur, California, earlier this month. It’s the latest in a succession of secretive tests the company’s been conducting, all part of its goal to achieve certification with the Federal Aviation Administration and start commercial operations.
The prototype spent more than an hour and 17 minutes in the air and covered 154.6 statute miles on a single battery charge, traveling along a predefined circuit. While the test flight was remotely piloted by Joby’s chief test pilot, Justin Paines, the company plans to have pilots in the aircraft when it opens its ridesharing service for customers.
Headed by JoeBen Bevirt, Joby Aviation has spent the past 12 years designing eVTOL – an electric vertical take-off and landing craft that ascends like a helicopter but flies like an airplane and is magnitudes quieter than both.
Joby is one of a suite of startups looking to make electric air travel a reality for the average American. The company’s website features a graphic showing a proposed trip from Los Angeles airport to Newport Beach – over an hour and 44 miles by car, but only 15 minutes and 35 miles with Joby. Joby aims to make such trips a reality by 2024, and tests like these are a major sign to the public, investors and regulators that it is on track to meet that timeline.