The plane will be used in small and mid-sized markets, land on the UPS facilities themselves, and somehow help healthcare providers – but we’ll get to that.
It was actually a specific UPS subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, that placed the order. The eVTOL aircraft has 4 major advantages, including 3 with all electric vehicles:
- Greatly reduces pollution.
- Reduces operating costs.
- Super calm.
- Reduces transit times.
Naturally, this 4th benefit comes from the unique nature of VTOL aircraft, aided by the ability to take off or land on rooftops.
“The 1,400-pound cargo capacity of the BETA aircraft is ideally suited to transport urgent deliveries more quickly and sustainably that would otherwise fly on small fixed-wing aircraft,” writes UPS. “UPS’s use of the plane will benefit healthcare providers, thousands of small and medium businesses, and other businesses in small communities. With a range of 250 miles and a cruising speed of up to 170 miles per hour, UPS will be able to plan a series of short routes, or one long route, on a single charge to meet customer needs. That’s actually all that is said about how the eVTOL aircraft will help healthcare providers, so it’s unclear why this is being highlighted. Presumably, it’s just that UPS will be able to deliver packages to some places faster, and I guess less pollution means better public health.
As usual, UPS is getting bonus green points for reducing emissions through electric transportation, especially since it’s a fun new airline that is making headlines, but the company is content also examine its results and find ways to save money and outperform its competition. rivals (for the moment). And UPS admits it. “It’s all about innovation with a focus on the performance of our business, our customers and the environment,” said Juan Perez, general manager of information and engineering at UPS. “These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open up possibilities for new services and serve as the basis for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operations.”
“We combine a simple, elegant design and cutting-edge technology to create a reliable aircraft with no operational emissions that will revolutionize the way cargo travels,” said BETA Founder and CEO Kyle Clark. “By using vertical takeoffs and landings, we can transform relatively small spaces in existing UPS installations into a micro air supply grid without the noise or emissions of traditional aircraft operation.”
The Beta Technologies (BETA) aircraft uses 4 fixed vertical lift propellers and 1 pusher thruster to … propel it forward. BETA also sells a charging station UPS to get faster charging while parked on the roof between shipments. The charging station allows the aircraft to be recharged in less than an hour. Just enough time for human workers to break up a package load or unload. (That is, until the robots handle this task as well.)
The eVTOL market is just starting to take shape. It looks a bit like the electric car market ten years ago. There are a lot of startups and some big aerospace companies that have their feet in the water, but no one is mass-producing vehicles yet (it’s still a few years) and the first models are essentially approaching consumer sales. This makes things even more exciting, however, when a major player like UPS orders eVTOL planes.
BETA eVTOL planes are apparently not yet capable of flying autonomously, but eventually will be. “BETA’s planes are designed to someday operate autonomously as technologies and regulations are established. UPS Flight Forward received the first Part 135 standard air carrier certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a drone airline and operates daily revenue-generating flights with drones. FAA certification also allows UPS Flight Forward to carry payloads of up to 7,500 lbs. either with an operator or independently. “
10 BETA planes will be delivered in 2024, if all goes according to plan, and UPS has the option to purchase up to 150 under agreed terms.
Last year, UPS also ordered 10,000 electric vehicles from start-up EV Arrival.
FedEx is yours now. What you have?
Do you appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician or Ambassador – or Patreon Sponsor.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or would like to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
New podcast: Cruise talks about autonomous driving technology, regulation and automotive design
New podcast: Battery mining policies and regional trends