Beta hopes its electric vertical aircraft deal with UPS validates this new mode of transport

Beta Technologies, which agreed to sell electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft to United Parcel Service, sees the deal as a major milestone for the acceptance of eVTOLs as commercially viable.

“UPS is a step function change for our business,” Beta founder Kyle Clark told CNBC ahead of Wednesday’s announcement. “It telegraphs to the entire business community that electric vertical aircraft are real.”

Beta Technologies will design and build 10 of its Alia-250 eVTOLs to be delivered to UPS in 2024, pending certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft is powered by an electric battery. It has five propellers, allowing it to take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. It can carry 1,400 pounds. It can travel up to 250 miles at 170 mph once fully charged, a process that takes 50 minutes.

UPS, headquartered in Atlanta, plans to test the eVTOLs in its Express Air delivery network to replace small planes that can carry 500 to 3,000 pounds.