Joby Aviation’s First Commercial Electric Taxi Charging Station – Airways
DALLAS — Joby Aviation is set to roll out its first commercial air taxi charger at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, CA. The move brings Joby’s electric air taxi services closer to becoming a reality in Southern California.
Last week, Joby, the Santa Cruz-based company developing electric air taxis for commercial services, announced it had signed a definitive agreement with Clay Lacy Aviation to install Southern California’s first electric air taxi charger at SNA. Joby’s Global Electric Aviation Charging System is already in use at Joby’s flight test center in Marina as well as at Edwards Air Force Base. The charging system supports the operation of the electric aircraft being developed, as well as Joby’s air taxi.
The company has been operating in Marina for over five years. Joby has about 400 employees at its manufacturing and flight testing facilities in Marina. It is building and testing its electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles for commercial passenger service.
In September last year, Joby Aviation delivered its first aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base, almost six months ahead of schedule. The aircraft was the first built on Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina and is believed to be the first delivery of an electric air taxi in the United States.
Hub for Start-up
JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said that this is a step in the right direction as far as laying the infrastructure for electric air taxi services is concerned. He said, “We’re taking concrete steps to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support our future service, and we’re grateful to be working with an industry pioneer like Clay Lacy Aviation to lead the way in bringing sustainable aviation to Southern California.”
The installation of the electrical infrastructure to support Joby’s Global Electric Aviation Charging System (GEACS) comes as part of Clay Lacy’s planned $100 million redevelopment of its fixed-based operator (FBO) terminal at SNA, targeting completion in mid-2025.
The charger is expected to be in place by the middle of next year. The installation of the charger at SNA will establish the airport as a hub in Joby’s Southern California air taxi network, which is expected to be one of the first networks to launch in the United States.
Electric Air-Taxi Services
Joby Aviation is designing an aircraft that will be able to transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph with a maximum range of 100 miles. The electric aircraft developer is collaborating with partners, including Delta Air Lines (DL) and Uber. Ultimately, the company aims to operate its aircraft as part of aerial ridesharing networks in cities worldwide. The anticipated launch date is 2025.
In late 2022, Joby said it was working with DL to launch a home-to-airport transportation service for Delta customers. These air taxi services would be offered in Los Angeles and New York. Bevirt said that recent developments are promising and bring the delivery of electric air services to Los Angeles even closer. He said, “Monday’s announcement marks a key moment on the path to delivering our air taxi service in the greater Los Angeles area.”
To make flying greener, Joby freely gave the specifications for its universal charging interface to the wider industry in November last year. According to Bevirt, the move was made to help accelerate the transition to clean flight.
“The charging technology we have developed is optimized to support our whole industry, from air taxis delivering short-range city flights to more conventional electric aircraft flying longer distances,” Bevirt said.
Joby’s eVTOL prototype obtained its Special Airworthiness Certificate in June 2023.
Feature image: The first aircraft to come off Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, CA (left). Photo: Joby Aviation