More than 60 cities will have flying taxi services in 2035
Study The services of flying taxis are not the only utopia. The strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman believes that such services will be active in more than 60 cities by 2035. Many players have embarked on this race to develop an e-VTOL and some have chosen to form coalitions to share costs.
Volocopter, Lilium, EHang but also Airbus and Boeing or even Uber. : all these start-ups and companies have in common the desire to develop an electric aircraft dedicated to urban mobility. In total, the firm Oliver Wyman, which carried out a strategic study of this market for three years, identified around 170 prototypes of e-VTOL (electric aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing). However, these competitors have entered a race for certification, a Grail which should be won by “less than 10% of these players in 5 years”, says Guillaume Thibault, partner at Oliver Wyman.
Technical developments for commercial flights from 2023
The advent of flying taxis is no longer a fantasy. This means of transport becomes possible “under the effect of three major technological breakthroughs that are electrification, autonomy, and connectivity”, explains Guillaume Thibault. Nearly $ 2 billion in investments have already been made in the urban air mobility sector, including 40% in the United States and 80% in start-ups. By 2035, this flying taxi market could represent between 35 and 40 billion dollars in revenue. In total, between 60 and 90 cities could offer such a service for around 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles in operation.
The first vehicles could go on sale in 2021, the first commercial flights are announced for 2023 and the first public roads for 2025. However, it was not until 2030 that Oliver Wyman really imagined a very large operations scale in an urban environment. The autonomy of the batteries will be significant enough for intercity air transport services to be offered, and “the autonomy will allow operations to be massaged”, justifies Guillaume Thibault. However, urban air mobility will remain “niche and premium transport”, he says. Races could be offered, between 30 to 60 euros, in a second time only.
Coalitions to spread costs
Before achieving this result, it is still necessary to manage to develop and certify an e-VTOL as well as all the necessary infrastructures ranging from a fleet management system to the construction of structures for aircraft to land and take off. Many actors seem to be choosing a coalition. “We must find a solid and robust coalition, especially on the sharing of value and risks,” explains Guillaume Thibault.
Today three coalitions seem to stand out. A led by the VTC Uber company which gathers around it many actors ranging from architectural firms to aeronautical specialists like Boeing and Embraer, passing by cities. A coalition around Airbus has worked with the Volkswagen group and recently made announcements in partnership with RATP, the city of Paris and Groupe ADP (Aéroports de Paris). A final one around the German start-up Volocopter which seduced Daimler and Geely and which also works with the city of Singapore.
But it is not certain that these coalitions will last over time. Some players, who are discreet today on the networking platform and customer management, may have other intentions tomorrow. Customer management and related data being very important … All the hypotheses seem possible: Airbus and Boeing might want to launch their own flying taxi service, just as the car manufacturers offer more and more mobility services.