UPS has announced its Flight Forward subsidiary plans to purchase electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies (BETA) as part of its innovation-driven strategy to identify new ways to help small businesses with sustainable solutions.
UPS Flight Forward is scheduled to take delivery of its first 10 BETA eVTOL aircraft in 2024, with the option to purchase up to 150. The vehicle has a 1,400 lb cargo capacity, a range of 250 miles and zero operating emissions. According to the company, eVTOL aircraft are perfect for moving smaller loads that would otherwise fly to and from airports on small feeder aircraft or take even longer by ground, thanks to their capability to take off and land directly on UPS property.
“This is all about innovation with a focus on returns for our business, our customers and the environment,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation.”
UPS has reserved BETA’s recharging station for safe and rapid charging of the aircraft in under one hour to facilitate faster cargo loading and unloading. The charging station also offers the aircrafts’ batteries a second life. After the batteries’ first lifecycle in the aircraft is over, they can be fitted to the charging station to recharge the aircraft’s onboard batteries as well as UPS’s fleet of electric ground vehicles.