Vermont-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Beta Technologies announced Wednesday it has raised $375 million in Series B funding, bringing its total investments to nearly $800 million.
The money will support further development and eventual type certification of Beta’s Alia eVTOL, which is currently undergoing flight testing. With a wingspan of 50 feet, four fixed rotors, and a single rear-mounted propeller, the battery-powered aircraft has achieved a top speed of about 150 kts with a targeted range of 250 nm on a single charge. Designed for a payload of 1,400 pounds—or a pilot and five passengers—the eVTOL is designed to fully recharge in under an hour. Beta has said it expects FAA type certification in 2024.
The project is part of aviation’s emerging global eVTOL advanced air mobility (AAM) sector, aiming to develop an entirely new form of zero-emission, low-noise air travel for relatively short flights.
Last month, Alia was the first electric aircraft piloted by U.S. Air Force airmen as part of its Agility Prime technology acceleration program.
Unlike several other leading eVTOL developers now flight testing full-size prototypes, Beta has not chosen to go public. Wednesday’s funding announcement offers evidence that the strategy of remaining private may be bearing fruit.
“Zero-emissions aviation is a critical part of turning the corner on climate change, and we are thrilled that our investors see our electric aviation system as a meaningful step towards this ambitious goal,” said a statement Wednesday by Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark. “This support allows us to complete the construction of our production facilities and accelerate our certification work to create a greener and more efficient future for all applications of aviation, starting with cargo and logistics and moving to passenger missions immediately thereafter.”
The financing round was led by TPG Rise Climate and Fidelity Management & Research Company.
Beta—which intends to focus first on a cargo variant—has already received orders from UPS Flight Forward (NYSE:UPS), Blade Urban Air Mobility (NASDAQ:BLDE). Alia’s launch customer will be United Therapeutics, which plans to use the aircraft to transport organs for human transplantation.
The startup is also establishing a network of charging stations designed to serve all electric vehicles, including cars and trucks as well as electric aircraft.