The charging station that will play this pioneering role for the military comes from the Vermont-based Beta Technologies. Beta and the DoD (Department of Defense) go way back. The two started to collaborate officially in 2020 when Beta became part of the AFWERX Agility Prime Program.
Beta also has a special status among eVTOL developers as the first one to be awarded an airworthiness certificate from the Army. Also, its electric aircraft, Alia, was the only one of its kind to be selected by the Army and USAF for piloted evaluation flights. In other words, military test pilots got to see what Alia could do, and it was convincing enough to lead to this next phase.
Beta calls its charging platform The Charge Cube, described as a safe and quick solution for electric aircraft and ground-based EVs. It's also agnostic, meaning that it can recharge any type of eVTOL, not just its own. It promises to charge an aircraft in under one hour.
The Charge Cube is part of an entire ecosystem that Beta developed around its air taxi. The Charge Pad is a multi-modal facility designed to operate off-airports. Each customer can adapt it to its specific needs, with modules ranging from mission planning to crew rest areas and maintenance.
Apart from its partnership with the DoD, Beta is working on a nationwide network. It currently boasts 13 active charging sites from Vermont to Florida, with 55 more in construction. The goal is to reach 150 active sites by 2025.
Agility Prime officials announced that two charging test sites will be up and running before the end of this year.
After the Beta charging stating is installed, the Alia aircraft is also expected to arrive this fall. Currently waiting for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification, the Alia air taxi is set to enter commercial service in 2025.
Alia combines a 250-nautical mile (463 km) range with a payload of 1,400 lbs (635 kg). It can be configured as a five-seat passenger air taxi or high-capacity cargo aircraft.