Bell Unveils Nexus eVTOL Air Taxi

Five-seat hybrid-propulsion air-taxi concept boasts a range of 150 miles and top speed of 150 mph.

Bell Nexus eVTOL
Bell's Nexus eVTOL concept could reach the market as a bonafide product by the mid-2020s.Bell

Traffic-hopping eVTOL air taxis are all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, with Bell stealing headlines by unveiling the 6,000-pound Nexus, a hybrid-propulsion ducted-rotor aircraft boasting a projected 150-mile range, a top speed of 150 mph, expansive windows and an “augmented reality enhanced” flight experience.

The company formerly known as Bell Helicopter said the hyrbid-electric propulsion aircraft will use six tilting fans to take off and land vertically from rooftops or heliports. Artist renderings show the Nexus as having one pilot seat in front of four passenger seats. A wrap-around cockpit includes an unconventional-looking array of controls and displays. Bell says a critical next step “is designing a flight control ecosystem that allows individuals to safely and efficiently operate urban air vehicles.”

Bell rebranded itself last year as a technology company after decades as a top manufacturer of commercial and military helicopters. It was one of the first aircraft manufacturers to team up with Uber in 2017, when the ride-hailing company first released its ambitious Uber Elevate plan to create a network of city-based flying taxis as a way to alleviate street-level traffic. Since then, Bell has been working on its own design, and at CES this week it pulled back the curtain on its first concept.

Besides Bell, the Nexus development team includes Safran, which will provide the hybrid propulsion and drive systems, EPS for the energy storage systems, Thales for the flight control computer hardware and software, Moog to develop the flight control actuation systems and Garmin to integrate the avionics and vehicle management computer. Visitors at CES can view the prototype Tuesday through Friday.

Bell is aiming to have the Nexus in flight over a handful of major markets by the mid-2020s.