Vertical Aerospace to Soon Start Delivering the First eVTOLs to Japan

Marubeni will soon receive the first 25 VX4 air taxi it has ordered 9 photos
Photo: Marubeni
Over the last couple of years, we’ve been hearing all about the impressive pre-orders secured by various eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) manufacturers, from customers all over the world. We are now finally getting closer to the actual deliveries, and hopefully we’ll get to see the first air taxis in operation in the near future (although certification is such a long, tedious process). In Japan, this might happen in two years from now.
World Expo 2025 will be held in Osaka, Japan, where it’s returning after several decades (the 1970 and 1990 editions were previously held here as well). Set to begin on April 13, in 2025, it will be the perfect occasion for Japan to launch AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) services. That’s because the theme of the event is “Designing a Future Society for Our Lives,” focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up by the United Nations.

And future air taxis are all about that – offering emission-free, effective and affordable alternatives to conventional passenger flights. In preparation for the event, the Japanese company Marubeni (a trading and investment conglomerate) is getting ready to receive its first VX4 eVTOLs, and has successfully conducted proof-of-concept (POC) demonstration trials.

These included an interesting approach to future flying taxi operations, focusing more on getting the local community ready for these upcoming services. That is why it has conducted flights from the Osaka airport to Wakayama using conventional helicopters, but at future air taxi prices, as a way to familiarize the public with future changes.

Marubeni’s eVTOL order is one of the largest ones out there. Apparently, it wants 200 units of the Vx4 eVTOL, and it has already reserved the delivery slots for its first 25 air taxis.

The four-seat VX4 was designed by the UK-based Vertical Aerospace, and a prototype of the aircraft conducted a successful, manned flight test in the Fall of 2022. Vertical has started collaborating with Marubeni since 2021, and Japan is just one of its many global customers. In fact, Vertical claims to be the developer with the largest number of pre-orders in the eVTOL industry (at the end of 2021 this had added up to 1,350 VX4 units, worth more than $5 billion).

The VX4 boasts top-notch technology from the best in the game, including Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, Microsoft, and GKN. Fitted with a 1 MW powertrain, and avionics that are said to be as advanced as the ones on the F-35B (the F-35 version that can take off and land vertically) this eVTOL promises an impressive speed of 200 mph (322 kph).

Currently waiting for certification, Vertical’s flying taxi is set to kick off commercial operations in 2025, just in time for the Osaka World Expo.
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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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