November 4, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a summary of the article Part 44P, eVTOL operating costs. It discusses the operational costs of a typical eVTOL flying a feeder mission from a city center to an airport.
The dominant cost factors are not the ones eVTOL companies love to discuss, like the electricity bills.
Mission operational costs
We have analyzed the operational costs for airliners and feeder aircraft for almost a decade with our aircraft performance model. An eVTOL is not that different; the cost factors are the same, but their content differs.
We used the model to analyze the energy, crew, maintenance, airport, underway, and capital costs. The total cost for a typical city-to-airport feeder mission of 30 minutes, including procedures, would be just over $200.
The interesting part is what cost factors dominate. Figure 2 shows the cost distribution for the mission.
We see that the energy costs represent 2% of the cost mass and maintenance of the airframe with its systems, motors, and rotors 9%. The problem areas are the battery renewal costs at 32%, the cost of using the heliport, the airport, and the in-between airspace at 25%, and the cost of the pilot at 23%.
The conclusion is the cost eVTOL OEMs love to discuss; the energy cost is non-relevant to the operations costs of eVTOL air taxis.
The battery costs deserve special attention. We need more than five batteries per year, and you can’t base the renewal cost on the costs in the car industry. It produces some five billion energy-oriented cells this year. End of this decade, the eVTOL industry will demand less than 0.1% of the car industry quantity of its special, power-optimized cells.
Therefore, we have based the battery costs on what the manufacturers have told us will be the renewal cost for a 144kWh eVTOL battery at the end of the decade.