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Paris will host the Summer Olympics in a year.

Not only will the athletes be rooting for their first-ever Olympic medal, but so will the fledgling aircraft company Volocopter.

VoloCity, an electric plane that can transport two people, hopes to begin service in Paris soon. This will be the first service of its kind in Europe and the first to employ an EVTOL aircraft.

EVTOL aircraft have been under development by dozens of firms throughout the globe, with the promise of being quieter, cheaper, and emission-free than traditional aircraft.

In the next few months, Volocopter hopes to get passenger clearance from the European Aerospace Agency (EASA) in time for the Olympics.

Christian Bauer, CFO of the German firm, adds, “Everything is ready and set to go by the middle of next year.”

There will be three ways to go from the heart of Paris to the airports and heliports there. Volocopter will also provide sightseeing tours with return flights.

Plans call for a larger aircraft than the current two-seat VoloCity.

Not an easy task in a dense urban center like Paris, a lot of effort went into organizing flight pathways and landing sites (called vertiports). Volocopter has accomplished a great deal in its 12-year existence, especially considering the technical difficulty of creating and certifying a brand-new aircraft.

However, some argue that Volocopter and its competitors will still face much greater difficulties in the future. They’ll have to demonstrate demand for their planes in the future.

The primary issue still lies with battery life. Although they have improved, the range and cost benefits of EVTOL aircraft compared to helicopters, trains, and vestill need to be improvedn limited.

While sufficient for short city trips, the VoloCity’s range of 22 miles pales in comparison to that of a helicopter.

Mr. Bauer recognizes the difficulty, saying, “What is holding us back right now is the battery technology, which all of our colleagues are working on right now.”

He predicts the development of more potent and inexpensive batteries, which would enable Volocopter to construct a larger aircraft capable of providing services at reduced pricing.

To begin, we will be charging premium rates equivalent to those in the helicopter industry. When a four- or five-seater model is ready, “we will progressively move down, with a major step.”

Areas with limited access to transportation are of particular interest to Lilium.

Another German company, Lilium, has produced a bigger EVTOL. It’s an attractive vehicle that can transport up to six people.

To switch between vertical lift and forward flight, the Lilium can tilt its 30 electric jets in tandem, unlike the Volocopter’s rotors. By 2025, it hopes to have earned EASA approval.

According to Lilium, such an airplane would have a big potential market because of the need for alternative transportation around crowded cities and the lack of services in areas with inadequate train connections.

We have no interest in competing with low-cost rail service in areas where it already exists. When there is no infrastructure, and infrastructure is hard to construct, that’s when we come into play,” explains Klaus Roewe, CEO of Lilium.

He mentions the June agreement that called for the purchase of 100 Lilium planes by Shenzhen Eastern General Aviation (Heli-Eastern).

In the Greater Bay area of China, which encompasses Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Macao, Heli-Eastern operates air connectivity. Mr. Roewe believes it may be a “nightmare” trying to move around because of all the mountains, islands, and peninsulas.

Electric jet engines from the Lilium up close

Swiveling electric jets allow the Lilium EVTOL to lift off and fly ahead.

Lilium, like Volocopter, is betting that developments in battery technology will allow its aircraft to compete.

Mr. Roewe says there is still “uncertainty” about battery pricing, but he is optimistic that both prices and capacities will decrease over time. He believes that the EVTOL sector may leverage developments in automobile battery technology.

“There is no reason our batteries should be more costly than any vehicle battery,” argues Mr. Roewe.

Some analysts still need to be convinced of the EVTOL industry’s battery predictions despite this confidence.

Bjorn Fehrm, who has a background in aeronautical engineering and has flown combat planes for the Swedish Air Force, says, “They [EVTOL aircraft] actually have a very particular battery set that’s very limited in production and extremely costly to manufacture and will not reach large numbers any time soon.” He just accepted a position with the aerospace firm Leeham.

Mr. Fehrm notes that EVTOL planes use battery power for takeoff and flight at a significantly higher rate than a vehicle does.

The airplane would also need rapid charging in order to be cost-effective. Mr. Fehrm believes the rapid charge and discharge are hard on the battery and necessitate a different and more costly method than that of a vehicle.

He predicts that battery technology will advance by the end of the decade but that it will only be “twice” as good as it is now.

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Mr. Fehrm claims that current limitations in battery capacity restrict where and when EVTOL aircraft may fly. Whereas a helicopter could fly around a storm, an EVTOL aircraft, due to its significantly shorter range, would be unable to do so.

The new EVTOL companies will need to build facilities in addition to developing more efficient battery technologies in order to mass-produce their aircraft.

Since EVTOL aircraft employ the same procedures as the aviation industry, which are not ideal for low-cost, high-rate manufacturing, according to Mr. Fehrm, this is likely to be a costly process.

Battery technology deployment is “a tough process, but it is speeding up,” according to Darrell Swanson, an aviation expert who specializes in electric aircraft.

To avoid adopting a model that caters just to business travelers and the affluent, he argues, the new companies will need to expand rapidly.

The first Volocopter assembly plant began in April in Bruchsal, near Stuttgart in southern Germany, with the capacity to produce 50 aircraft per year. However, the company intends to increase annual production to between 5,000 and 7,000 aircraft by the end of the decade.

Mr. Bauer recognizes there is much labor and money required.

For that vehicle’s certification, we’re in the home stretch. Now comes the hard part: finishing the race and making a profit.

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