Nexus
Bell
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
www.bellflight.com

The Bell Nexus is a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) hybrid-electric vehicle aimed at on-demand mobility solutions.

The Nexus has three large ducted fans (a total of six) high and close in on each side of a fuselage that ends in a high stabalizer, the middle set of rotors are on 8 ft (2.4 m) wings. The fans pitch from vertical to horizontal allowing vectored thrust. Landing skids contain small wheels. While the Bell patent includes two different versions, one that holds one passenger and a pilot, and one that holds six passengers, the current version shows a “4+1” configuration for a pilot and four passengers. Top speed will be 155 kt (288 km/h) with a range of 130 nm (241 km). It has a gross weight of 6,000 lb (2,720 kg) and will fit in a 40 ft x 40 ft (12.2 m square) footprint.

The vehicle is designed for urban mobility and can be used as part of the Uber Elevate concept. Bell (then “Bell Helicopter”) announced on April 25, 2017 at the Uber Elevate Summit that the two companies will be working together “to accelerate the eventual large-scale deployment of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) in order to fulfill its mission of providing a safe, reliable transportation service to everyone, everywhere.”

Bell says team Nexus consists of a partnership with Safran (hybrid propulsion and drive systems), Electric Power Systems, EPS (energy storage systems), Thales (Flight Control Computer (FCC) hardware and software), Moog (flight control actuation systems) and Garmin (integration of avionics and the vehicle management computer).

A full scale demonstrator is expected early in the next decade with widespread service in the mid-2020s.

The vehicle was originally simply called the Air Taxi. It was premiered as the Nexus at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2019 show. The company unveiled the Bell Air Taxi cabin experience at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2018, stating: “During CES, attendees will experience an augmented reality simulator inside the cabin with a selection of consumer scenarios, from a red-carpet premiere landing to several cross-city day and night trips. Bell’s air taxi design took inspiration from the people that will benefit from it; bringing families, friends, and businesses closer together by gradually reducing the average in-car trip length.”

Bell Nexus Image shared at CES 2019
Bell Nexus Image shared at CES 2019
Bell Nexus Image shared at CES 2019
Bell Air Taxi mockup 2017
Bell Air Taxi mockup interior 2017
A patent for a possible design of the Bell Air Taxi
2018 Bell patent for a possible air taxi design

Resources

Tags:

AirTaxi, Bell, Vectored ThrustInitial Design2 Passengers6 Passengers, Electric HybridAutonomousVFS Member