Joby Rolls Out Second Air Taxi Prototype, Breaks Ground on Expansion

The manufacturer has completed its second production prototype, which it says will join its initial prototype at Edwards Air Force Base in California later this year.

Joby prototype eVTOL air taxi aircraft Marina California

Joby has now manufactured two eVTOL prototypes on its pilot production line in Marina, California, where the company says another two aircraft are in final assembly. [Courtesy: Joby Aviation]

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi manufacturer Joby Aviation on Monday rolled out the second prototype aircraft built on its pilot production line at Marina Municipal Airport (KOAR) in California, where it also broke ground on a previously announced expansion.

Joby rolled out its first production prototype from Marina in June, delivering it in September to Edwards Air Force base (KEDW) in California ahead of schedule. There, U.S. Air Force personnel are using the aircraft to conduct logistics and other missions during joint testing. Joby and AFWERX, the innovation arm of the Air Force, signed an aircraft development and flight testing contract in 2020 that has since been expanded multiple times.

Joby says it expects its second prototype, on display at Marina on Monday, to join its counterpart at Edwards later this year following final testing.

The manufacturer designed its flagship air taxi to carry a pilot and as many as four passengers on trips up to 100 sm (87 nm), cruising at 200 mph (174 knots). The company is targeting commercial launches in major U.S. cities such as New York and Los Angeles, where it will ferry customers to and from airports in partnership with Delta Air Lines, in 2025.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Marina expansion, which Joby expects will more than double the facility’s production capacity, was attended by a who’s who of local stakeholders, including the city of Marina and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), and Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) groups. A representative of the company’s manufacturing partner, auto manufacturer Toyota, was also present.

“This facility will play a foundational role in our future success, and it is a privilege to once again be growing our footprint and our workforce in California,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “I am grateful to the local community and our many supporters who have advocated on our behalf to reach this point and to Toyota for everything they continue to do to make manufacturing a success at Joby.”

Joby expects the expanded Marina facility to be open for operations by next year. The company is targeting a production rate of 25 aircraft annually as its scaled manufacturing plant in Dayton, Ohio, comes online.

The Dayton facility, selected in September, is expected to initially churn out 500 aircraft per year when full-scale operations begin in 2025. The 140-acre site has enough space for the company to one day fill it with more than 2 million square feet of manufacturing assets, which figures to expand capacity further.

However, Marina also has an important role to play for Joby. The company in its 2023 earnings report said a significant portion of the approximately $450 million in cash and short-term investments it projects for 2024 will go toward the site’s expansion. On Monday, it confirmed that a pilot training and flight simulation center as well as a maintenance hub, intended to support early operations, are among the planned facilities.

The expansion is funded in part by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), which in November awarded Joby a $9.8 million California Competes grant.

The prototype aircraft being built at Marina will further support Joby’s quest for type certification. The company’s initial prototype was responsible for its first $1 million in revenue, as reported in its 2023 earnings: early flight services provided to the Department of Defense, conducted at Marina Municipal Airport.

Since then, the manufacturer has committed to two more air taxi deliveries to MacDill Air Force Base (KMCF) in Tampa, Florida, in an expansion of its $131 million contract with AFWERX. The agreement calls for the delivery of nine aircraft, of which the company has now firmly committed to four.

Evaluations conducted under the contract figure to help Joby refine its air taxi design ahead of for-credit type certification testing with the FAA. The company in February said it is ramping up to for-credit testing following the regulator’s acceptance of the certification plans for its aircraft, components, and systems.

Following the rollout of its second air taxi prototype, Joby says another two aircraft are in the final assembly phase. Parts for “multiple subsequent aircraft” are in production at the company’s recently acquired facility in Ohio, from where they will be shipped to Marina.

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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