Bell’s changed Nexus air taxi has four electric tilting ducted fans

Bell wants to offer the aircraft both with a pure electric drive and with a hybrid-electric drive.

The vision of substantial air transport, with flying machines and vertically developed cities, could soon become a reality thanks to the numerous drone and aircraft projects for urban air mobility. At CES 2020, the initiatives of Uber (in collaboration with Hyundai) and Bell were shown.

It was at the Consumer Electronics Show, which is currently being held in Las Vegas that Bell created the surprise by unveiling a corrected version of its Nexus, dubbed Nexus 4EX, which is switching to fully electric engines.

Previously, the plan was to have the aircraft powered by a total of six electric motors and six rotors. About a year after having presented it to the public, Bell abandoned the initial version of the Nexus by cutting two rotors from the six of the initial version of the aircraft.

According to the manufacturer, the name Nexus 4EX represents the characteristics of the aircraft – four is the number of drive units, E for electric, and X for Experimental.

Now powered by four rotors, the device also abandons the hybrid engine – which will remain in the program but will be the subject of a later version, intended to be marketed after the fully electric version. The aircraft features Bell’s signature powered-lift concept with four tilting ducted fans that can be configured as hybrid-electric or all-electric.

The Nexus 4EX should operate at a cruising speed of around 240 km/h (150 mph) while having a maximum range of 97 km (60 miles). The aircraft is expected to be capable of flying four to five passengers, plus a pilot, according to the aviation news site FlightGlobal.

Bell wants to offer the aircraft, if it goes into series production, both with a purely electric drive and with a hybrid-electric drive.

The vision for the Bell Nexus remains the same, but by taking a mature system-level approach to design for an objective market vehicle, we believe this configuration unlocks a capable, certifiable and commercially viable product,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

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