Sticking a small “e” in front of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft changes everything. The e designator—standing for electric—means battery packs connected to electric motors. These quiet, carbon-emissions-free craft have so far been the darlings in an industry with a reputation as a big polluter. Joby, Illium, Archer, Wisk and eHang, among many others, have attracted serious investors as they race each other towards certification.
The fastest known eVTOL in development is the Joby S4, with a top speed of 205 mph and 150-mile range. But recently Horizon Aircraft showed off a half-scale prototype of its Cavorite X5 VTOL, which the company says has a projected top speed of 285 mph, although design and power specs suggest its real-world results could be higher by 10 mph. Its theoretical cruise speed of 250 mph would deliver a range of 250 to 600 miles, depending on loading and configuration.