eVTOL stands for Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing.
The key words are electric and vertical.
The reasons that electric propulsion is important is multifaceted but primarily because it represents a sustainable future. For the most part, General Aviation (GA) small aircraft burn leaded gasoline. So not only are we spewing out CO2 by the bucket load we are also poisoning our environment with lead. Battery technology is at the inflection point of being viable energy source for aviation in certain applications such as short-haul and eVTOL. Over time, battery technology will improve significantly. Electrical energy is green in the Pacific Northwest because of our hydropower and renewable energy across the nation is the fastest growing energy source, increasing 100% from 2000 to 2018 (1).
eVTOL vehicles will create a compelling reason for people to switch to electric transportation
Vertical (take-off and landing) is essential simply because it is not practical to put airport facilities where people live, play and work. They are simply not practical from a dirt perspective (meaning the land becomes more valuable than the airport can support). Over 300 airports have vanished in Washington State alone over the last 70 years (2). Because of this, General Aviation (small aircraft) is not a practical means of transportation. You can’t fly from the suburbs to the city for two reasons: 1) The “city” airport changed their name to “international airport” and has been moved typically 20 or more miles from the city center, and 2) The suburban airport has disappeared altogether. Thus, the only practical way to fly where most people need to travel require vastly smaller airports or vertiports.
The advantages and usefulness of Vertiports and VTOLs (tilt-rotors) were identified by the Federal Aviation Administration prior to 1991 to the extent that they provided an Advisory Circular on the subject of Vertiport Design (3). In this document they prescribe a landing area of 250 x 250 feet whereas the minimum practical landing area for small non-vertical (winged) aircraft is 2000 x 250 feet. (Commercial airline runways are between 8,000 and 13,000 feet long)
With the advent of eVTOL the required landing area is shrinking even more and with a compact vehicle like the ZEVA Zero, the landing area can be as small as a cul-de-sac or back-yard. Precise computer navigation and control will allow safe operation in these small areas.
Electric and Vertical are a winning combination that allow practical air travel where you want to go!