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Zeva builds its second-generation Z2 eVTOL: Pursuing efficiency and practicality

Zeva is prototyping a second-generation version of its completely different eVTOL flight. the Z2 is still a flying saucer sitting on its tail, which allows a person to fly head-down at high speeds, but the new model makes some practical changes. From the passenger’s point of view, the Zeva may look a bit intimidating to fly, and indeed, the experience of flying belly-down Superman-style is certainly not for everyone, but there is a practical purpose behind it.

This sit-on-the-tail design is one of the few small, single-pilot electric helicopters that enables fast, efficient horizontal flight, and it does so without any of the complications of an inclined propulsion system.

The Z2 rises vertically on four propellers, hovering and maneuvering like a drone. It moves forward at an angle, tilting further and further forward as its speed increases, until its wing-shaped fuselage bay generates enough lift to level the aircraft, with all of its propulsion reportedly going to forward thrust.

This allows it to reach a top speed of 160mph (257km/h) – far faster than any other eVTOL without a tilt propulsion system or some sort of lift and cruise arrangement. it also gives it a considerable range at over 50 miles (80km), or about 2 minutes of hovering and 20 minutes of the cruise with its 35 kWh battery pack fully charged flight.

This unique design approach actually has some other interesting advantages, such as the ability to park many of these aircraft in a small space, to fit a bunch of them into a container, to take off and land on a small flat area, and to theoretically “air dock” them on the side of a skyscraper – if one has the guts to use it! It could then get a parking spot right outside the window.

Zeva has been flying its first prototype since early January, and the company is now focusing on a second prototype that will be closer to production readiness.

The first-generation Zero was designed to be a goFly award,” said ZEVA CEO Stephen Tibbits in a video chat.” So it was highly constrained. So we asked ourselves, what do we really want to go into production with, and what are the problems we’ve had so far?”

“One of the problems, obviously, was that there wasn’t enough landing gear,” he continued, “and we could get more efficiency by swinging a bigger propeller. So we decided to combine the motor mounts with the landing gear and spread the landing gear and motors farther apart. As a result, we can swing a bigger propeller, get more efficiency and have a more stable platform on the ground. It also helps with access; on the existing Zero, it was very difficult to open and close the hatch and get a person in and out because of the propeller position.”

Tibbits said the Z2 will move to a different voltage to lighten the internal wiring and get another small boost in efficiency. However, the project is still in the relatively early stages. “We’ve got a CAD design that’s good enough to make renderings. We’ve done some engineering work on the pillars. But we don’t have the fabrication tools yet.”

In fact, during the local summer, Tibbits worked primarily on raising funds not only to get the Z2 built and tested but also to put the machine into limited mass production. He told the crowd that he is on track toward a $15 million goal, with several U.S. government and military deals in the works that in turn validate Zeva’s unique approach.

The company may sell the production eVTOL as an experimental aircraft, which could allow it to be used for certain emergency service jobs as well as by private operators.

This will definitely cut through a lot of FAA red tape, at least initially,” Tibbits said. Our goal is to get to market as quickly as possible and get people flying them as early as possible. Then, when both we and the FAA are ready, we’ll do the certification work.”

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Threza Gabriel
Threza Gabrielhttps://www.techgoing.com
TechGoing is a global tech media to brings you the latest technology stories, including smartphones, electric vehicles, smart home devices, gaming, wearable gadgets, and all tech trending.
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