United Airlines Is Planning to Launch Air Taxis Costing $100 Per Ride

It's not a car. It's not a plane. It's a tiny electric aircraft.

United Airlines made a gamble earlier this week by investing $15 million in a startup that manufactures electric-powered air taxis. According to Fox 11, the airline made a conditional agreement with Eve Air Mobility to purchase 200 of the air taxis and the possibility of purchasing 200 more.

The taxis seem pretty similar to helicopters, taking off and landing the same way, hovering at low altitudes, and made for short distances. They will initially be deployed in cities with significant traffic congestion, like Chicago and NYC. According to Eve Air Mobility, they could be ready as soon as 2026.

"United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation," said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines Ventures, in a press release. "Today, United is making history again, by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies. Our agreement with Eve highlights our confidence in the urban air mobility market and serves as another important benchmark toward our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050—without using traditional offsets."

The air taxis will use electric motors so that the rides will be carbon-free. The aircraft will be designed to have a range between 40 and 60 miles, and the initial design would only allow four passengers at once. United expects the rides to cost about $100 per passenger. Eve Air is also working out an air traffic management system that will allow air taxis to safely become more popular.

Considering an Uber on the ground already costs about $75 and only shaves 35 minutes off what it takes to get to an airport on public transit, I have to say the idea of a speedier, more environmentally friendly ride sounds pretty appealing. I'll just have to readjust my travel budget in the future.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.