Embraer is still searching for strategic partners for its plans to develop an eVTOL aircraft through the Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions subsidiary established in October 2020. During a fourth-quarter earnings call on March 19, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s CEO, Francisco Gomes Neto, told financial analysts that while it has reached an “advanced stage” in its search for investment in a new regional turboprop airliner, it remains too early to report “anything concrete” on a possible partner to share its investment in Eve.
“We continue to invest in innovation, programs, and projects, and Eve is one of the most important ones we are working on at this moment,” said Neto. “We see great potential for the eVTOL market itself but also for urban air mobility traffic management as well. We are working to [find] potential investors and also strategic opportunities. We don’t have anything concrete to share with you at this point in time but this is, in terms of innovation, one of our most important initiatives.”
In addition to advancing plans to certify the four-passenger, piloted aircraft, which also now carries the name Eve, the new subsidiary will work on other infrastructure and systems needed to support UAM, including air traffic management software, which is being developed by its Atech subsidiary. The new company is led by CEO Andre Stein, who was formerly head of strategy for the EmbraerX advanced technology unit.
The all-electric Eve aircraft is expected to have a range of up to around 100 km (60 miles) and Embraer predicts it will be up to 80 percent quieter than current helicopters and with 50 percent lower operating costs. The company has not published a projected timeline for bringing the aircraft to market, but it has been laying plans for service entry through collaborations with Airservices Australia and energy group EDP. The most obvious strategic partners for Eve would be suppliers for key aircraft systems, such as propulsion and avionics.
Meanwhile, Embraer is still seeking to resolve future plans for its commercial aircraft business, which were rocked in April 2020 when Boeing pulled out of a long-planned merger. In addition to the E-Jets and ERJ airliners, the company produces a family of business jets, including the Phenom, Legacy, and Lineage models, as well as the C-390 military transport aircraft.
Like most aerospace groups, Embraer was hit hard in 2020 by the fallout from the Covid pandemic, with revenues falling 31 percent to $3.77 billion. A decline in the number of airliners delivered last year (44 units) was the main cause for an EBIT loss of $100.5 million.