Electric air taxi developer Joby Aviation is expanding its partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation. The Japanese carmaker has agreed to supply key components for Joby’s eVTOL aircraft, the companies announced on April 27.
Toyota will manufacture some components of the aircraft’s powertrain and actuators—devices that control its moving parts—before sending them to Joby’s powertrain and electronics manufacturing facility in San Carlos, California. Joby engineers there will then finish assembling the actuators and powertrain components and deliver them to the company’s pilot production facility in Marina, California, for integration into the four-passenger aircraft.
“Our partnership with Toyota continues to be an integral part of Joby’s success, from assisting in the design of our pilot production line in Marina, California, to supplying key components for our aircraft,” said Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “Their expertise and knowledge have helped put us on track to deliver, at scale, an aircraft that we believe is truly best in class.”
Toyota has been working with Joby since 2020 when it invested $394 million in the California-based eVTOL developer. With its vast experience and expertise in designing and manufacturing automobiles, including electric vehicles, Toyota has been a valuable asset to Joby as not only an investor but also as a supplier and strategic partner. In addition to providing aircraft components, Toyota has been helping Joby build its pilot production facility in Marina.
“They also collaborate with us on designs, manufacturing processes, layouts, quality management, development, and so on," Didier Papadopoulos, Joby's head of aircraft OEM, told FutureFlight. "So they're really integral to our business from beginning to end, and we're really grateful for that partnership.”
Initially, Joby’s Marina facility will produce about a dozen aircraft per year. The company is using the facility as a testbed for the aircraft manufacturing process before constructing a much larger Phase 1 production facility, which it says will be capable of building hundreds of aircraft per year. Joby is in the process of choosing a site for that facility. Rival eVTOL developer Archer Aviation recently announced that it will be building its full-scale production facility in Georgia.
Joby and Archer both plan to launch air taxi services using their eVTOL aircraft in 2025, shortly after achieving FAA type certification by the end of 2024. In February, Joby announced that it had completed the second of five stages of the certification process when the FAA approved its means of compliance, a document that details how the company intends to comply with all the safety rules defined in its certification basis. Around the same time, Joby announced that it had begun assembling the first “company-conforming” version of its eVTOL aircraft.