Airbus has partnered with two German automotive industry players to design the rear structure of its new CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft. KLK Motorsport and Modell- und Formenbau Blasius Gerg will work together to design, develop, and manufacture an ultra-lightweight rear fuselage for the CityAirbus NextGen air taxi, the company announced last week.
The all-electric CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL, unveiled by the European aerospace group in September 2021, is a four-passenger, fixed-wing passenger aircraft intended mainly for urban air mobility applications. It features a V-shaped tail with eight sets of electric motors and propellers, boasts a range of 50 miles (80 kilometers), and can reach maximum speeds of up to 75 mph (120 km/h). Although the air taxi will be equipped with an automated flight mode, it will be piloted initially—at least until the urban air mobility market matures, the company has said.
KLK Motorsport and Gerg have worked with Airbus in the past, designing a carbon-fiber canopy for Airbus Helicopters' Rapid and Cost-Efficient Rotorcraft, better known as Racer. Both companies also have experience working on Formula E and Formula One race cars. The team will use that expertise to develop a highly efficient airframe for the CityAirbus NextGen, Airbus officials said.
"The partnership with KLK Motorsport and Gerg will provide CityAirbus NextGen with a fully integrated, ultra-lightweight rear fuselage. Directly interacting with the center fuselage and the wing, the rear structure will leverage both suppliers' expertise in homogeneous design for FormulaE and Formula One vehicles, while complying with the most stringent safety and reliability standards," said Joerg Mueller, head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus.
KLK Motorsport and Gerg are the latest of several companies to join Airbus in its urban air mobility efforts. Just last month, Airbus announced that it had selected Magicall, a California-based company, to supply the aircraft's electric motors. Kansas-based Spirit Aerosystems has agreed to develop and manufacture the aircraft's wings, and the European avionics group Thales and Diehl will develop the aircraft's flight control computers.
Airbus aims to achieve the first flight of a CityAirbus NextGen prototype in 2023, and the company expects to receive EASA type certification by 2025.