Rolls-Royce to supply propulsion system for Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL


Rolls-Royce is to supply the electrical power system for Vertical Aerospace’s VA-X4, an aircraft set to be one of the world’s first certified all-electric vertical take-off and landing platforms.

The company said it will integrate an electrical power system into the piloted VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) vehicle, which will carry up to four passengers for 120 miles at cruise speeds of over 200mph and is on course to certify in 2024.

Earlier this month Rolls-Royce’s electric Spirit of Innovation aircraft made its first taxi run, ahead of a  an attempt to set the world record for fastest electric airplane later this year.

The work with Vertical Aerospace is a milestone for Rolls-Royce Electrical – a team developing sustainable, efficient and quieter technology for aviation, marine, land and industrial applications – as it marks the company’s first commercial deal in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.

Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system that includes Rolls’ latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.

In a statement, Rob Watson, director of  Rolls-Royce Electrical, said, “We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This exciting opportunity demonstrates our ambitions to be a leading supplier of sustainable complete power systems for the new Urban Air Mobility market which has the potential to transform the way that people and freight move from city to city.”

Michael Cervenka, CEO of Vertical Aerospace said, “This collaboration builds on our existing partnerships and Vertical is well-positioned to develop the world’s leading eVTOL aircraft, certified to the highest CAA and EASA safety standards being set globally.”

Around 150 Rolls-Royce engineers will work with the Vertical Aerospace team on developing the aircraft which is aiming to be one of the world’s first certified eVTOLs. Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace has flown several full-scale eVTOL prototypes and the build of VA-X4 will begin shortly with assembly taking place in the UK and the first flight taking place this year.

In a separate development, Rolls-Royce recently announced a partnership with Tecnam and major worldwide aviation partners for the development of the P-Volt, an all-electric, twin electric motor, short and medium range passenger aircraft.


To find out more about Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL and its development and test program, listen to the ATI Innovation podcast with Dean Moore, flight test specialist at Vertical Aerospace here

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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