Could flying electric ‘air taxis’ help fix urban transportation?

Could flying electric ‘air taxis’ help fix urban transportation?

Makers of zero-emission eVTOLs envision a greener way to escape traffic. But planning experts aren’t so sure

The megacity of São Paulo is home to more than 22 million people, most of whom must endure its notorious traffic to get anywhere. For decades, however, corporate executives and the super-rich have soared above these congested streets in one of the world’s largest fleets of urban helicopters, which make as many as 1,300 flights every day. While the choppers may be – as one businesswoman declared – “a necessary tool” for some, others argue they are little more than a carbon-belching nuisance.

“Helicopters are a massively noisy, polluting form of transportation,” said Marc Tembleque Vilalta, a vice-president at Avolon, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing company that sees the São Paulo helicopter scene as ripe for disruption. Last month, the company signed a deal to begin supplying a Brazilian airline with electric air taxis, or eVTOLs (short for “electric vertical takeoff and landing”) by 2025.

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