Toyota-Backed Joby Aviation Kicks Off eVTOL Production in California

Joby to start manufacturing its first aircraft at the new production line in California 7 photos
Photo: Joby Aviation
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Things are looking great for Joby, the air mobility startup that has been developing and testing eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing) for a decade now. Most recently, it got the green light from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to start flight tests for its first aircraft built on the production line (co-designed with Toyota).
Most eVTOL manufacturers have secured numerous orders in different parts of the world, but it looks like Californian Joby is ahead of the game. It claims that the first aircraft built at its pilot production line in Marina, California, will also be the first eVTOL to be delivered to a customer. This is about to happen next year, and we're not talking about regular customers either. This trailblazing aircraft is going to USAF's Edwards Air Force Base, where its main job will be to demonstrate potential logistics use cases.

The production line in Marina is also noteworthy because it was developed together with an automotive giant. Toyota confirmed its interest in the American aviation startup back in 2020 with a $349 million investment. Today, Toyota is officially Joby's largest external shareholder. Its design team helped develop Joby's pilot production line, and the Japanese car giant will also supply powertrain and actuation components for the aircraft.

Joby designed the components that will be manufactured by Toyota in Japan, then sent to Joby's manufacturing facility in San Carlos for assembly. From there, the assembled systems will be sent to the new pilot production line in Marina, where Joby's eVTOLs are brought to life.

Toyota and Joby strengthened their ties further by recently appointing Tetsuo Ogawa, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor North America, to Joby's Board of Directors.

The unit that will be delivered to USAF is also the first-ever eVTOL to be stationed at a US military base. A total of nine aircraft will be delivered over time to become USAF's first electric aircraft fleet. Joby is working with USAF through the famous Agility Prime program, and their contract is worth more than $130 million.
Earlier this year, the Californian company marked another industry first. It became the first eVTOL manufacturer to test its propulsion system at NFAC (National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex). Located at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, this is known to be the world's largest wind tunnel.

Joby also has a significant partnership with Delta Air Lines - the two plan to launch electric-powered passenger flights in 2025. The airline will use Joby electric taxis to transport customers to and from airports fast, comfortably, and with no emissions. That same year, Joby will make its debut in Japan at World Expo in Osaka. The Californian startup will be just one of the many eVTOL manufacturers conducting flight demonstrations at the event.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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