How Will Vertiports Change the Way We Travel?

  • June 4, 2024

June 4th // by Nicolas Zart, Electric Air Mobility, LLC Founder and Supporter of ATOS ASSOCIATION 

There are more solutions than obstacles.

In this first part, we’ll look at what are vertiports and their energy use. In part 2, we’ll look at management systems and how they will change how we travel.

eHang 216S

eHang 216S

The Unsung Hero of AAM, Infrastructure

What would do without infrastructure? Imagine a world filled with cars but not roads to drive them. Beautiful airplanes and boats without airports and seaports to operate them. And with all the excitement around electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, we often overlook the most critical component of our fledgling advanced air mobility (AAM) industry—infrastructure. Vertiports are the unsung heroes and these modernized heliports will enable the operations of eVTOLs and their electric short and conventional take-off and landing companions, eSTOLs, and eCTOLs. But what exactly are vertiports, and what will they do for us? Let’s dive in and explore this innovative concept.

From Vertistops to Vertihubs: Scaling Infrastructure

Vertiports come in three categories: vertistops, vertiports, and vertihubs, each designed to accommodate varying levels of traffic and services. Generally speaking, Electric Air Mobility categorizes Vertistops as the smallest of the three. They will provide shelter from the elements and up to two vertipads. They are likely to be without energy systems initially, but as prices become more attractive, inductive charging platforms will enable quick top-offs during boarding and deboarding. Think of them as urban commuter on-and-off spots, such as public transportation bus stops or metro stops on a busy line.

Vertiports will host two to five vertipads, a medium-sized terminal, and a range of energy options, including electricity, hydrogen, and sustainable fuels. They can provide some amenities in the terminals and full-scale staff and security. Finally, Vertihubs are the largest of the trio. They are designed to accommodate greater traffic with five to ten vertipads, multiple terminals, and a comprehensive energy infrastructure. They will also have greater amenities, perhaps grocery stores, local boutiques, and much more depending on local products and services.

Electric Air Mobility, LLC designs these vertiport categories with scalability in mind, allowing vertistops to grow into vertiports and vertihubs as traffic demand increases and geological conditions permit. This flexibility ensures efficient use of resources and a seamless travel experience.

PSnS vertiport

PSnS vertiport

Energizing Vertiports: Powering the Future

Vertiports are nothing without energy, and electricity is expected to dominate the energy demand. Charging stations currently offer 40 to 310 KW. They are ready to roll out now and as you have read on last week, Beta has already UL certified its charging station. However, these first-generation charging stations will need to reach higher amperage levels to handle multiple aircraft and vehicles charging simultaneously in the future. This current charging station generation will handle most of the workload for the next five years until a new generation with 1,000 to 10,000 amps will replace them. Electric Air Mobility, LLC has already partnered with leading companies to provide the best charging solutions for vertiports, ensuring efficient operations for eVTOLs and other electrified vehicles’ scalability.

For hydrogen energy, Electric Air Mobility, LLC works with production systems that fit within international shipping containers and can be fairly easily transported. They are capable of delivering 2 to 5MW of energy, positioned above ground or underground on vertiports. Liquid fuels, such as Jet A and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), will be dispensed similarly to traditional airports and heliports. They can either be trucked in if the vertiport is in an airport or stored locally within the vertiport.

Beta Technologies Charging Cubes

Beta Technologies Charging Cubes

Stay tuned for part 2 which will look at terminal and vertipad designs, as well as systems management.

Credit to: Nicolas Zart