The bet paid off with the latest investment in the Seattle startup, which sells electric-powered aircraft that it promises will cost as little as $190,000 and fly 50 miles on a charge. The deal gives United an option to buy 200 of the single-seat craft, which resemble helicopters but take off and land like airplanes, from Eve in coming years. The price per vehicle suggests United could spend as much as $38 million at current valuation levels if it exercises all options, while Eve said it plans to deliver its first craft in 2020.
United and Eve Air Mobility reached an agreement to buy 200 four-seat electric aircraft.
The airline claimed it will invest $15 million and had options for 200 more planes.
The $10 million deposit on Archer’s electric aircraft was followed by the investment.
In order to assist cut carbon emissions once the aircraft are introduced to the market and take the place of vehicle excursions, United Airlines is investing additional money in the development of electric air taxis.
The airline said on Thursday that it has reached an agreement to purchase 200 electric air taxis from Eve Air Mobility, a company sponsored by Embraer, and that it had the option to buy 200 more. Eve, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in May, is receiving a $15 million investment from United, a Chicago-based company.
United stated that it anticipates receiving the first aircraft as early as 2026.
The news comes after a $10 million deposit and an agreement to buy 100 electric planes from Archer Aviation.
Other airlines, such as American, have also committed to buying electrical vertical-take-off and landing aircraft, or Evtol for short, on the grounds that the new technology may lower emissions, particularly on short journeys like commutes to airports.
The one-way cost to the airport was estimated by United Airlines Ventures president Michael Leskinen to be between $100 and $150.
Leskinen noted in a teleconference with reporters that the infrastructure for the aircraft is still in doubt and that Evtol startups still require clearance from aviation regulators. Infrastructure would be needed for the aircraft’s takeoff and landing.
However, he said, “We are optimistic about the industry’s growth later in this decade.