Textron’s eAviation division is continuing work on its Nexus eVTOL prototype aircraft and is aiming for a first flight “in a couple of years,” according to division president and CEO Rob Scholl. The U.S. company previously had indicated that it had dropped plans to bring the model to market.
For now, work is proceeding on the design and build of the latest iteration of the hybrid-electric aircraft Nexus 4 EX, which Textron unveiled in January 2020. A dedicated team within the new eAviation business unit based in Wichita is now leading the program, with support from colleagues from other Textron divisions, including Bell, Textron Aviation, automotive supplier Kautex, and newly acquired Slovenia-based light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel.
In November 2021, Scholl indicated that it no longer viewed the Nexus as an active program. He explained that Textron would not proceed with the full development of an eVTOL vehicle until it could make the business case for doing so, implying that this was heavily predicated on significant advances in battery technology.
Given its background in certifying the all-electric Velis Electro fixed-wing training aircraft and its previous work on various eVTOL designs, Pipistrel’s contribution could be especially valuable with the Nexus. “There are a lot of synergies [within Textron] on the advanced air mobility side,” Scholl said last week. “People find the work that we're doing exciting and interesting.”
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