The US aircraft giant, Boeing, together with prominent German spots car maker, Porsche, announced last Thursday plans to “explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace,” through “a fully electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle”.
This effectively means that the two companies want to develop an electric vehicle that can fly.
In their announcement, neither company shared how much they intend to invest, nor did they share the amount of resources that will be committing to the project.
Porsche’s parent company, Volkswagen AG, is the world’s largest automaker. In 2015, it was hit by what is called the Volkswagen emissions scandal, also known as Dieselgate or Emissionsgate. The United States Environmental Protection Agency had issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to German automaker Volkswagen Group. It became known that tests were not carried out in a transparent manner resulting in vehicles showing lower carbon emissions than is the reality.
Despite the massive financial set-back, Volkswagen is attempting to stay on course by announcing a major push into the development of electric vehicles, aiming to build 22 million electric cars across its various brands over the next 10 years.
Boeing also recently suffered a major setback. Despite its revenue topping $100 bn (€90.7bn) for the first time in 2018, its sales will be significantly lower in 2019 due to the grounding of its best-selling commercial jet, the 737 Max, following two fatal accidents killing 346 people.
On 29th October 2018, 12 minutes into a flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia, the plane crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew. Five months later, a flight leaving from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi Kenya, crashed near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia just six minutes after take-off. All 157 people aboard were killed.
Boeing has already shown a prototype of a self-driving electric powered flying car earlier this year.