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Porsche, Boeing to explore air mobility with prototype aircraft

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Article by Damon Lowney
Lead image courtesy Porsche

Just as Porsche has started to dabble in electric vehicles with the Taycan to the consternation of dedicated internal combustion engine enthusiasts, the company has announced a partnership with Boeing to explore the “premium urban air mobility market” with an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.


Above: Mooney PFM with air-cooled 3.2-liter Porsche flat six. This plane took off from the airfield at the 2016 Porsche Parade autocross in Jay Peak, Vermont. Photo by Damon Lowney

Porsche isn’t a stranger to aircraft, having provided what was basically the mid-’80s 3.2-liter 911 Carrera engine for the obscure Mooney PFM, but it doesn’t want to be left behind by other companies exploring air mobility, such as Uber Copter, a branch of the ride-hailing app company. Along with Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Porsche says in a press release that it will be exploring concepts for an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, which may or may not look like the mysterious aircraft in the lead image. Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche will also be involved in developing and testing a prototype aircraft.


Above: Porsche script on the nose of the plane identifies it as a Porsche-powered PFM. Photo by Damon Lowney

“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG.

Apparently Porsche has had its eyes on the air mobility market for some time, having completed a study in 2018 that predicted the industry will become more mainstream after 2025.

The big question for flying enthusiasts is whether this mobility aircraft will be fully autonomous, or support or require a human at the controls.


Full Porsche Press Release

Sports car manufacturer collaborates with renowned aircraft manufacturer

Porsche and Boeing to Partner on Premium Urban Air Mobility Market

Stuttgart/Chicago. Porsche and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. With this partnership, both companies will leverage their unique market strengths and insights to study the future of premium urban air mobility vehicles.

“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”

As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases. 

Boeing, Porsche and Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing, are developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.

“This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand,” said Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager Boeing NeXt, an organization that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. “Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”

A 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the urban air mobility market will pick up speed after 2025. The study also indicates that urban air mobility solutions will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.

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