Airbus unveils latest eVTOL prototype

Airbus has revealed pictures of its CityAirbus NextGen, a four-seat electric urban aircraft that the French aero giant says will fly for the first time later this year.  


Based on a ‘lift and cruise’ concept, the eVTOL (electric vertical take and landing) is powered by eight electric propellers, with six across the 12m wingspan and two on the aircraft’s distinctive, V-shaped tail. According to Airbus, the two-tonne CityAirbus has a cruising speed of 120km/h and an operational range of 80km. While the aircraft is being designed with an operational automated flight mode, it will initially be piloted.

The unveiling took place at the newly opened CityAirbus test centre in Donauwörth, Bavaria, located in the centre of the triangle formed by nearby cities Munich, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. Part of Airbus’s wider Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) strategy, the centre began its operations with the CityAirbus NextGen’s power-on in December 2023 and will host the remaining tests required before the prototype’s maiden flight later in 2024. These tests will cover the electric motors and their eight rotors, plus other systems such as flight controls and avionics.

- Airbus

“Rolling out CityAirbus NextGen for the very first time is an important and very real step that we are taking towards advanced air mobility and our future product and market,” said said Balkiz Sarihan, head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus. “Thank you to our community, team and partners all over the world for helping us make this a reality.”

Airbus said it is expanding its global network and partnerships to build an ecosystem to support a viable AAM market. The company recently signed a partnership agreement with aviation company LCI to focus on the development of partnership scenarios and business models in three core AAM areas: strategy, commercialisation and financing.