So is the electric vertical takeoff and landing [eVTOL] vehicle more like a helicopter or a plane? If Urban eVTOL’s Leo is moving far beyond that- it wants to be like a car. Styled like a luxury supercar, it measures 20 feet by 10 feet, meaning it will fit in most two-car garages. And it has an automotive-style interior, with an easy-to-learn semi-autonomous fly-by-wire control system.
As reported by Robbreport, the car-like qualities are far from the only innovations. Propulsion comes via a unique electric jetpack design built by co-founder Pete Bitar’s Electric Jet Aircraft. The system uses five clusters of electrically powered jet turbines. Four of the clusters provide lift and the fifth pushes the Leo forward.
Each cluster works in unison to emulate a single rotor, but the multiple jets per cluster provide safety through redundancy. The turbines’ rotors are housed within the craft’s body, which provides additional safety. Plus it looks pretty damn cool. The system has performed well in tethered test flight and Urban Evtol projects a top speed of 250 mph with one hour of flight time.
The interior holds three people, but the most interesting number may be the price tag: $300,000, very affordable indeed.
Urban eVTOL co-founder Carlos Salaff says the plan calls for experimental certification in 2023 and full arrival on the market in 2026.