The next few years will see a handful of companies take to the skies, with Uber and Airbus announcing plans to launch flying taxi services around 2020. Joining the pair is luxury carmaker and engine designer Rolls-Royce, with the company outlining its designs at the Farnborough International Airshow over the weekend.

The concept vehicle is codenamed EVTOL (Electric Vehicle Take Off and Landing).

It’s still very much in the development phase, but could carry roughly four to five passengers. The EVTOL also sports two wings that wings that can rotate 90 degrees to facilitate the take off and landing manoeuvres.

While it features the word Electric in its codename, the EVTOL would still utilise a hybrid-powered engine with petrol chugging turbines for the six propellors needed. The combined power output for the EVTOL’s engine is 500 kW.

This petrol aspect of the concept’s engine would only be for the take and landing, according to Rolls-Royce’s plans, with the electric portion designated for the journey from one destination to another.

Still unable to perform the feat, the company says the EVTOL could theoretically manage a flying range of 800 kilometres between refuelling or recharging. Added to this would be a top flying speed of 400 km/h.

As for when the concept will take to the skies, Rolls-Royce has tentatively eyed the early 2020s, but a more definitive date has not been slated just yet.


When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.