Embraer air mobility unit Eve has announced its partnership with defense, tech, and transport giant Thales to develop the production of electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, in what may be an effort to kick off work to create a prototype craft into higher gear.
The partnership will seek to leverage the deep aeronautic experience and assets Thales has accumulated across the globe to accelerate and strengthen development of Eve eVTOL aircraft. Eve’s current schedule calls for certification in 2025 and delivery the following year. The company announced in January that it had formalized the certification process with Brazil’s civil aviation authority for planes with a planned range of up to 60 miles, and maximum cruising speed 125 mph.
Though sales deals announced last month increased Eve’s total aircraft orders to nearly 1,800, it has not yet unveiled a flesh-and-bones prototype that rivals those Joby, Archer, Wisk, Volocopter, and others have. Its link-up with Thales may therefore be an industrial hedge in ensuring it will be able to ratchet up development and production to meet its 2026 delivery target.
To do that, it will get support from the Thales Technological Space Centre in São José dos Campos, Brazil, and the French group’s Avionics Centre in São Bernardo do Campo. Selection of Brazil for the joint effort is also based in part on Embraer’s position as the leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 150 seats in the country.
The plan initially calls for a series of joint studies to be conducted over a 12-month period to examine the technical, economical, and adaptable feasibility of a 100% electrically powered aircraft. On the production side, Thales is providing its expertise in developing avionics, electric, flight control, navigation, communication, and connectivity systems for future Eve eVTOL craft.
“This partnership will strengthen Eve’s position as a leading player in the global market and our commitment to delivering an effective and sustainable new mode of urban transportation,” said Eve co-CEO Andre Stein. “Embraer is a leading player in aviation in Brazil and globally, and has partnered with Thales for more than thirty years, and now Eve will leverage this partnership too.”
News of the pairing comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Eve’s drive to go public has entered its decisive stage.
On April 14, Zanite Acquisition Corp. said it will ask its investors to approve its planned merger with Eve at a meeting May 6, which would clear the way for a stock listing with an expected valuation of $2.4 billion. Most, if not all major eVTOL manufacturers that have gone to Wall Street have used the same special purpose acquisition company scheme for stock floatations, which is faster and less arduous than the traditional road show and presentation route.
If the share introduction plan is approved and goes as hoped, it should generate over half a billion dollars in cash for Eve – an infusion also likely to help accelerate the company’s work to produce a prototype and begin testing it.