Joby Aviation’s flagship flying taxi has taken the industry to impressive new heights.
A full-size prototype of the Joby S4 has completed what is believed to be the fastest flight of any eVTOL aircraft to date, according to a tweet shared by the California-based aviation startup.
The pre-production air-taxi hit a true airspeed of 205 mph (330 km/h) in a test flight carried out last Friday, comfortably eclipsing the previously touted top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h).
It’s not the first record the S4 has set, either. Last July, the six-bladed electric aircraft surpassed its estimated range of 150 miles (241 km) and covered 154.6 miles (248.8 km) on a single charge during a 77-minute flight. Joby believes this is another benchmark for the class.
After carrying out more than 1,000 test flights in the S4 to date, Joby is now focusing on reaching the maximum altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), according to the tweet.
Ten years in the making, the S4 was designed to help transport people in congested cities and connect under-served rural communities. The whisper-quiet aircraft, which takes off and lands vertically, can carry a pilot and up to four passengers. Eric Allison of Joby Aviation recently said his company’s end goal with the S4 eVTOL is to “save one billion people an hour each day.”
Joby started gaining serious momentum for the flying taxi in 2020, when Toyota Motor Corp. announced it would invest $400 million and help with the design of a 450,000-square-foot factory. That same year, Joby acquired Uber Elevate and was also endorsed by the US Air Force. Last February, though, it really cemented itself as king of the North American eVTOL market after announcing a merger with Reinvent Technology Partners that resulted in a combined equity value of $6.6 billion.
With FAA certification on the horizon, Joby plans to have an electric flying-taxi network by 2024. In the meantime, you can expect the S4 to set a few more records.