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Honda sets out hybrid eVTOL plans
Thursday, 7 October 2021
The Honda eVTOL aircraft will feature a gas turbine hybrid power unit based on its current engine design. This will enable a far greater range than is possible with pure electric aircraft.

Honda Motor Company has announced plans for a new hybrid eVTOL as it seeks to take on challenges in new areas whilst leveraging its core technologies. The direction aims to lead to the completion of Honda's 2030 vision of serving people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life's potential”.

It is committed to contributing to the realisation of a society with zero environmental impact and zero traffic collisions and to take on initiatives that enable Honda to challenge in new areas. In addition to research on advanced environmental and safety technologies Honda R&D is pursuing outside the box research on technologies that will bring about new value for people by expanding the potential of mobility.

These new initiatives aim to be made possible by technologies that Honda has amassed to date, including in combustion, electrification, control and robotics.

The Honda eVTOL aircraft will make mobility in the skies more accessible for people by leveraging its electrification technologies for its gas turbine hybrid power unit; the adoption of the hybrid power unit will enable the extension of range which will enable the eVTOL to provide inter city transportation; and it will create a new "mobility ecosystem" featuring the eVTOL at its core.

Honda says its eVTOL features safety at a level equivalent to that of commercial passenger aircraft realised by its simple structure and a decentralised propulsive system and quietness due to the relatively small diameter of its rotors. This makes it possible for it to take off and land in the middle of a city without causing noise issues. However Honda does say that all-electric eVTOL aircraft face a range issue due to limited battery capacity, therefore the realistic use area is limited to intra city transportation.

To address this issue and realise user friendly inter city transportation with longer range, Honda will leverage its electrification technologies and develop its eVTOL to be equipped with a gas turbine hybrid power unit. Moreover, in addition to electrification technologies, it will feature technologies Honda has amassed in a number of different areas such as combustion, aerodynamics and control technologies.

Keiji Ohtsu, President and Representative Director of Honda R&D says, "All of the initiatives we introduced today are for the challenges Honda takes on in new areas, but the underlying passion of Honda to use our technology to make people's lives more enjoyable remains unchanged. Ever since the company's founding, the wellspring of Honda's challenges has always been the people at Honda who generate original technologies and ideas."

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