It looks like UPS is taking the lead in the virtual competition between US postal operators and delivery services. The fact is that United Parcel Service and its UPS Flight Forward division decided to immediately purchase 150 electric vertical takeoffs and landing aircraft Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL). The American startup Beta Technologies, which is working on the ALIA eVTOL model, was chosen as a partner.
It is planned to use such “helicopters” in small and medium-sized markets, where the volume of shipments is not large enough to use full-size cargo aircraft. Simultaneously, their small size allows them to be used for regular and urgent delivery, including cargo for medical institutions.
Since vertical takeoff/landing aircraft do not require airfields, they plan to land them directly on post offices’ roofs. This will lower maintenance costs and speed up the loading and shipping process. EVTOL will use standard charging stations to charge the batteries, which will also service electric vehicles. The electric platform will make the vehicle quieter and cleaner.
Beta Technologies’ ALIA eVTOL is capable of transporting 635 kg (1400 lb) of cargo up to 400 km (250 miles) at a cruising speed of 275 km / h (170 mph). It will take less than an hour to charge the batteries fully. This is sufficient to complete one sufficiently long route or a chain of shorter delivery routes. In the future, it is planned to make Beta electric aircraft completely unmanned.
The first 10 copies of ALIA eVTOL should go to work at UPS in 2024. After successful testing, their fleet is planned to increase to 150 copies. Recall that UPS is also going to purchase 10,000 electric vans from the British startup Arrival for delivery of orders in the USA and Europe, and also ordered 125 Tesla Semi electric trucks at once.