United Airlines is investing $15 million in Eve Air Mobility, an electric aviation startup owned by Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer. As part of the deal, United will buy 200 of Eve’s electric air taxis, which seat four passengers and can take off and land vertically like a helicopter.
This is the second major investment from United in the new world of electric air mobility after investing an undisclosed amount in Archer last year. These companies have proposed developing small, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can fly rooftop to rooftop in a dense city. But so far, none have received clearance from federal aviation regulators to fly passengers.
But Eve will have to meet certain benchmarks before finalizing its order with United, which the airline described as a “conditional purchase agreement.” (United did not elaborate on the terms in its press release.) Delivery of the Eve’s first aircraft, which has a range of 60 miles, is scheduled for 2026.
The investment comes from United Airlines Ventures, United’s venture arm, which the airline will use to reach its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 without using traditional carbon offsets.
United said it is investing in Eve primarily because of its relationship with Embraer, which gives it access to parts and supplies for its air taxi service. Previously, Embraer said it would make flying taxis for Uber before the ride-hailing company sold its eVTOL division to another startup.
Eve is the latest startup to get United’s seal of approval. Last year, the airline said it would buy 15 supersonic aircraft from Boom Supersonic, potentially increasing the order to 50 jets.