Futuristic VTOL will be powered by hybrid electric power plant.
At the Future of Transportation World Conference, which takes place this week in Köln-Messe, Germany, Bell Helicopter and Safran announced they are collaborating on a VTOL aircraft for the air-taxi market.
The futuristic-looking VTOL concept will be designed, developed and produced by Bell, while the hybrid electric power system will be developed by Safran. “Thanks to the long and sustained technology-development strategy conducted within the Safran group, we can now offer Bell our hybrid electric power solutions for their next generation products that result in improved performance giving more value to our customers,” said Safran’s senior executive vice president of R&T and innovation, Stéphane Cueille.
What that power plant might look like remains to be seen. While a conceptual cabin mock up has already been designed by Bell, it does not show whether the VTOL will be elevated by a traditional helicopter rotor or some other source of lift. The mockup of the VTOL was first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
Bell’s director of innovation, Scott Drennan, sees the partnership with Safran as a major step in the right direction for the project. “Our work with Safran is a historical milestone for future transport solutions,” he said.