The universe of potential customers for electric vertical-takeoff-and-landings aircraft has expanded, with the Brazilian franchisee for car rental company Europcar announcing plans to order 50 eGyros from startup Skyworks Aeronautics.

Europcar Brazil joins a growing list of customers across several market sectors placing early commitments for advanced air mobility aircraft. All are conditional on the aircraft meeting performance targets and business objectives, and little money has changed hands so far.

Skyworks Global, for example, has yet to raise the funding required to develop the piloted, four-passenger eGyro, which is an electric-powered autogryo. In June, the company announced a letter of intent for up to 200 eGryos from a consortium of South Korean startup Mint Air and battery provider Mobius Energy.

Steve Stevanovich, Skyworks co-founder and executive chairman, told Aviation Week that the startup was looking to raise the funding required to develop the eGyro by going public, “most likely” through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Most of the customer commitments announced so far have been by companies going public, or planning to, via a SPAC transaction. These include Archer, which lists publicly on Sept. 17, and Vertical Aerospace as well as Embraer subsidiary Eve, which is in merger talks with a SPAC.

In July, a consortium led by Volkswagen launched a €2.9 billion ($3.4 billion) agreed takeover offer for Paris-headquartered Europcar Mobility Group in a bid to become a leading provider of electric mobility. According to Paul Gaba, chief executive officer of the Autotur Group, the Europcar franchisee for Brazil, “The offer of eGyros will complete our range of possibilities as a global mobility provider.”


Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week’s coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.