And while the idea of flying cars may feel like the stuff of science fiction, serious engineers, military leaders, business executives and government regulators are working to make such vehicles real.
» READ MORE: Joby Aviation pledges up to 2,000 jobs, $500M to build flying cars in Dayton area
In February, Joby said it had completed the second of five stages required by the Federal Aviation Administration to certify its electric vertical take-off and landing (also called “eVTOL”) aircraft for commercial passenger use.
“We’re taking this in a step-by-step progressive way, and we’ve grown the company just as we’re maturing the technology,” Bevirt said in an interview with this newspaper. “We’re making fantastic progress on the type certification.”
Joby already has a manufacturing facility in Marina, Calif., smaller than the one the company plans to build near Dayton International Airport next year, where it intends to make up to 500 of the electric-propulsion aircraft a year.
“We rolled our first aircraft off that pilot manufacturing line (in California) in July,” Bevirt said. “Now we have multiple aircraft that are going through the manufacturing process.”
The company also has the support of household names in the world of commerce.
Its long-term investor, Toyota, has worked with Joby on the design and launch of the company’s pilot production line. The automaker plans to continue to advise Joby as it prepares for scaled production of its commercial passenger air taxi in the Dayton area.
Toyota’s presence in Georgetown, Ky., where the automaker has its biggest assembly plant in the world, was another reason to consider the Dayton area for manufacturing, Bevirt said.
» PHOTOS: See the ‘flying cars’ that will be built near the Dayton airport in a $500 million investment
Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., Joby is a publicly traded company, whose stock (NYSE: JOBY) closed at $6.54 Friday, down nearly 5.8%. The stock bounced back to $6.83 Monday, up 4.5%. The company went public in August 2021.
Joby has received investments and support with global names such as Toyota and Delta Airlines. Financial press reports have said Joby is backed by some $700 million in funding and partnerships.
For the second quarter of 2023, Joby reported a net loss of $286 million, reflecting what the company said was the unfavorable revaluation of derivative liabilities of $181 million and operating expenses of $116 million, partly offset by interest income of $11 million.
Still, at the end of the second quarter on June 30, Joby said it had $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments.
Net cash used in operating activities and property plant and equipment totaled $77 million in the most recent quarter, Joby said.
Another highlight of the quarter: Joby said its first production prototype rolled off the line and started flight testing.
Toyota in June became Joby’s largest external shareholder, having invested around $400 million in the company since 2020. The two companies signed a long-term agreement for the supply of powertrain and actuation components.
In October 2022, Delta announced a multi-year, multi-market commercial and operational partnership with Joby, with plans to create a Joby-operated service into Delta’s customer-facing channels, providing Delta customers who travel through New York and Los Angeles a chance to fly on the Joby aircraft to and from airports in those cities.
Delta said it made an upfront equity investment of $60 million in Joby, with the opportunity to expand that to $200 million.
“Delta always looks forward and embraces opportunities to lead the future, and we’ve found in Joby a partner that shares our pioneering spirit and commitment to delivering innovative, seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys and our world,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in 2022.
In late 2020, Joby also welcomed $75 million from Uber as part of a broader transaction involving the acquisition of Uber Elevate, Uber’s effort since 2016 at creating an aerial ridesharing market.
Even as it launches big plans in Ohio, Joby’s headquarters, research and development, and pilot production facility will remain in California, Ohio officials said. With about 150 open positions across the company’s three Northern California sites, Joby continues to grow there.
But Ohio is distinctive in its own way, home to Wright-Patterson and crucial Air Force missions anchored there, who have played a formative role in Joby’s history.
What to know about Joby Aviation Inc.
Business: Developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft as part of a fast, quiet and convenient air taxi service beginning in 2024.
Headquarters: Santa Cruz, Calif.
Finances: Net loss of $286 million as of June 30, 2023, with $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand.
Plans: Joby intends to build a manufacturing facility near Dayton International Airport capable of delivering up to 500 aircraft per year, investing up to $500 million, creating up to 2,000 jobs.
Sources: Joby, State of Ohio