Is this electric aircraft the taxi and ambulance of the future?

Cavorite 5 can travel at speeds of up to 450kph over a range of 500km

A five-seater hybrid electric aircraft that can travel at speeds of up to 450kph could become a familiar sight in the sky some day in the future.

While it might look like it belongs in a big budget Hollywood action film, the Cavorite X5 was designed to help disaster relief efforts and medical emergencies, as well as to operate as an air taxi.

It has a range of 500km and can carry a load of 500kg, according to Brandon Robinson, chief executive of Canadian manufacturers Horizon Aircraft.

"Essentially, the Cavorite X5 will go twice as fast as a helicopter, carry similar loads, and will have lower operating costs,” Mr Robinson said.

He said early models were likely to cost up to $3.5 million, but that the price would decrease when production was cranked up to accommodate higher demand.

The Cavorite X5 is classified as an Evtol (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicle, which means it uses electric power to hover and take off and land vertically like a helicopter, despite having the appearance of a plane.

Mr Robinson predicted Dubai could be one of the early adopters of the vehicle.

"It will be released in 2024. As for markets, we would like to take a global approach,” he said.

“It seems that the UAE embraces new, useful technologies very early so we could absolutely see the Cavorite in Dubai sooner rather than later.”

Critics of the Evtol market said many of the projects were unrealistic and unlikely to ever see the light of day.

This was something that Mr Robinson acknowledged, saying the sector still faced challenges.

"In the short term, I think some of the impractical designs will begin to be challenged,” he said.

“Investors and the media are becoming educated and I think poor ideas will begin to be weeded out at a much quicker rate.

“In the long term, I think that the first practical use cases will begin trials to prove validity. I think we will see de facto commercial operations in very specific areas begin by 2025-2027 with more to follow after that.”

Updated: February 26, 2021 08:58 AM

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