BOEING TAKES PORSCHE INTO THE AIR

The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer Porsche has joined forces with the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing to open up the market for electric air taxis together. In a declaration of intent, the two companies agreed to combine their strengths and knowledge, not just to investigate the future of urban air mobility, but also to design a suitable aircraft.
Bei der Entwicklung von Flugtaxis setzt Bosch auf Erfahrungen und bewährte Technik aus dem Automobilbau.
“Porsche is evolving from a sports car manufacturer to become the leading brand for premium mobility, which could also include the third dimension in the long term,” says Detlev von Platen, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are bringing together the strengths of two globally leading companies to tackle a market segment that will potentially be important for the future.”

According to von Platen, international teams will work on the different aspects of urban air mobility, analyzing the potential of the market for premium products and identifying possible areas of application.

Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and the Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services and Studio F.A. Porsche are also on board. Together, the engineers aim to develop a concept for a fully electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically and can be flown in various ways. This could be by a pilot, just like a taxi, by a passenger, or later completely autonomously.

Marcus Parentis, Technikteam-Leiter im Geschäftsbereich Automotive Electronics bei Bosch

“PORSCHE AND BOEING ARE ACCELERATING THE PACE OF THE GLOBAL URBAN AIR MOBILITY MARKET WITH PRECISION ENGINEERING, DESIGN AND INNOVATION.”

STEVE NORDLUND, VICE PRESIDENT UND GENERAL MANAGER AT BOEING NEXT, ON THE TWO COMPANIES’ MOTIVATIONS FOR DEVELOPING AN AIR TAXI TOGETHER

“THE NEXT GENERATION MOBILITY ECOSYSTEM”

“Porsche and Boeing are accelerating the pace in the global urban air mobility market with precise technology, design and innovation,” Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt, says confidently. According to him, the subsidiary is dedicated to basic research into “the next generation of a mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and pilot-controlled aircraft can safely coexist”. The partnership between the two companies is therefore based on efforts to create a new mobility system that is safe and efficient. “It gives us the opportunity to work together with a leading automotive manufacturer on the development of a premium urban air mobility plane,” says Nordlund.

In 2018, management consultancy Porsche Consulting conducted a feasibility study on the market for vertical mobility and its developers and providers. As a result, growth in this market is expected to accelerate noticeably from the middle of the coming decade. Urban aircraft could transport people much more quickly and efficiently than conventional means of transport. Other advantages include comparatively low costs and greater flexibility. The financial services provider Citigroup is forecasting sales figures of around 20,000 electric air taxis per year from 2030 onwards.

Erfahrung und bewährte Technik aus dem Automobilbau helfen bei der Entwicklung von Flugtaxis.

MAIDEN FLIGHT AS EARLY AS 2020

Of course, Porsche and Boeing are not pioneers in this new market. It is not only other automobile manufacturers that are striving to conquer the air. This is also clear to Gregor Grand, Senior Partner at Porsche Consulting: “We are currently seeing a plethora of pilot projects and tests. A commercial air taxi service will not be realistic until 2025 at the earliest. We expect that, of the more than 100 companies currently working on this concept, five to ten will actually be commercially successful.” For Grand, air taxis above all represent a useful supplement when it comes to future mobility: “Air taxis will not mean that traffic jams disappear altogether. But they could help to relieve pressure points areas at peak times. For visitors to trade fairs or business travelers who want to get from the airport to their destination, this could be a sensible option.”

The first flight is scheduled to take place as early as 2020, although it is still uncertain whether and when the first Porsche with wings will be available for purchase, and what it will cost. Although the nose and roof of the first renderings are reminiscent of the design of current models, one thing is clear: the new Porsche will have no wheels, so it will not be able to take to the road.

Bosch möchte den Flugtaxi-Zukunftsmarkt als Zulieferer mitgestalten.

“PORSCHE IS EVOLVING FROM A SPORTS CAR MANUFACTURER TO BECOME THE LEADING BRAND FOR PREMIUM MOBILITY – AND IN THE LONG TERM, THIS COULD ALSO INCLUDE THE THIRD DIMENSION”.

DETLEV VON PLATEN, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR SALES AND MARKETING AT PORSCHE AG, ON PORSCHE’S REASONS FOR AIMING FOR THE SKIES

Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos and renderings: Porsche, Boeing
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