The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

New Beta App Gives Access to Growing Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Beta Technologies has launched a mobile app that provides access to the electric vehicle charging stations it is installing across the U.S. The start-up, which is developing the Alia 250 eVTOL aircraft, says that the new Beta Charge facilities are be able to support other makes of electric aircraft and also electric road vehicles.

In May, Beta used some of the initial 10 charging stations when its Alia prototype completed a 1,400-mile multistage trip from Plattsburgh Airport in upstate New York to Bentonville, Arkansas, with seven stops along the route in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Earlier this year, when announcing a further $375 million in funding for the Alia program, the Vermont-based company said it had started the installation or permitting of 65 charging stations, with  “hundreds” more in the planning stage.

The app allows operators to locate the nearest charging station on their route and then initiate the charging process when on site. Its payment processing function stores details of transactions and charging history for each vehicle, and can also be used to redeem vouchers for recharging that Beta may issue to individual customers or as part of a network-wide promotion.

“We created our chargers to increase accessibility, which is why they are multimodal in design,” said Beta in a media release. “Each charging station in our network...supports the ground electric vehicles of today as well as the electric vehicles of tomorrow—so they can support other electric aircraft, not just our own.”

The charging stations have radio frequency identification readers, each with a unique code that the charger reads to relay data to Beta's server. The server then pairs that code with a user account and authorizes the charging session.

In August, helicopter operator Bristow became the latest prospective customer for the Alia 250, which Beta aims to certify and have ready to enter commercial service in 2025. The all-electric aircraft will operate with a pilot on board, carrying up to five passengers or 1,400 pounds of cargo on trips of up to 250 nm (460 km). Other operators planning to add the Alia to their fleet include express delivery giant UPS, private flight provider Blade, and medical logistics company United Therapeutics.

Several other electric aircraft developers, including Eve, Lilium, and Eviation, are also working on charging infrastructure as part of wider plans to ensure a complete ecosystem is in place for the launch of commercial operations.