California-based electric air taxi developer Joby Aviation has raised $590 million in Series C funding led by Toyota Motor Corporation. Prior investors, including SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures, also contributed to the round, and were joined by new investors Baillie Gifford and Global Oryx (ALJ family's investment arm). Toyota Motor Corporation executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama will join Joby Aviation's board of directors. This new investment brings the company's total funding, including previous rounds, to $720 million.
Joby Aviation's mission is to bring fast, affordable and zero-emission air mobility to communities worldwide. Over the past 10 years, the company's team of engineers and physicists has developed a quiet, all-electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft that it says will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on demand urban air taxi market. The piloted eVTOL aircraft, designed for four passengers, can travel more than 150 miles on a single charge at speeds of 200 mph and is considerably quieter than conventional aircraft.
Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls to support the development and production and this, along with the capital investment, should accelerate the certification and deployment of this new mode of local transportation.
“We are building a new system for transportation to transform your daily life, at greater safety and, in time, at a similar cost to driving,” says Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us, and this new industry, from one of the world's leading automakers. Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of its products, driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness its engineering and manufacturing prowess helping to drive us to achieve our dream of saving a billion people an hour a day.”
As lead investor, Toyota is continuing to leverage emerging technologies to provide ‘mobility for all’. As well as the financing, the company will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby's breakthrough eVTOL aircraft.
Bevirt adds: “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us, and for this new industry, from one of the world's leading automakers. Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of their products driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness its engineering and manufacturing prowess to drive us toward our dream of helping a billion people save an hour+ commuting time every day.”
“Air transportation has been a long term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” adds president and CEO Akio Toyoda. “As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionise future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavour, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky."
In December 2019, Joby Aviation signed a multi-year commercial partnership with Uber, under which it agreed to supply and operate electric air taxis, for which Uber will provide airspace support services, skyport infrastructure, connections to ground transportation and customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network. Thus Joby was able to commit to a timetable to deploy air taxi services by 2023.