Joby Aviation surged 40% Wednesday after receiving a significant go-ahead from US regulators to build electric air taxis.
The Santa Cruz, Calif.-based company said in a statement that approval from the Federal Aviation Administration would allow it to test air taxis coming off the production line. Previously, it was only possible to demonstrate hand-built prototypes. Joby unveiled the first aircraft from its manufacturing facility at a media event.
“This is a big moment,” Joby CEO Joben Bebert said on Bloomberg TV from the company’s Marina, Calif., factory.
The stock has doubled since late April. The rally underscores the growing enthusiasm for the company. Toyota Motor Corporation. This is intended to overcome the failure of other companies to provide a low-cost, short-hop vertical lift aircraft. The big goal is to create a new category of small electric air taxis designed to avoid traffic jams and move passengers between cities.
But Bevert said the company still has a long way to go given the need for FAA certification. The company aims to produce “dozens” of aircraft on its own production line this year, with commercial flights in 2025. “We are still in the crawling phase of this journey.”
Longer term, Joby is evaluating other locations in various U.S. states for larger facilities that can build hundreds of aircraft a year, Bevert said.
The company has revealed more details about the aircraft, which is designed to take off vertically like a helicopter and fly like a small plane. According to Raymond James analyst Savi Cis, Joby said his vehicles could carry a payload of 1,000 pounds, which falls short of his goal of carrying four passengers and a pilot. It was something that counteracted the concern that it might be.
Additionally, Tetsuo Ogawa, president of Toyota’s North America division, will join Joby’s board of directors on July 1. Toyota is the largest outside investor in Joby, with a stake of about 12%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The automaker has helped Joby build capacity. The two companies have a long-term contract under which Toyota will supply the powertrain and some components.
The company, which also has Delta Air Lines and Intel as its largest shareholders, said its early production units will be the first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to be delivered to paying customers. The US Air Force will receive them next year. These vehicles are part of a $131 million contract.
Dan Ketchel, director of sustainability partnerships and performance at Delta Air Lines, said Joby’s air taxi service is a good fit for the company’s investments in Los Angeles International Airport, JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
“We have made some incredible terminal investments over the past few years and we are thrilled that Joby brings us equally innovative transportation solutions,” said Ketchel.