Electric aviation company BETA Technologies has been quietly working on some impressive zero-emissions aircraft technology and is now sharing its achievements with the world. Today, BETA announced plans to produce and certify its CX300 fixed-wing electric plane, which has already flown over 22,000 test miles and undergone evaluation flights for FAA certification. Watch this eCTOL takeoff in the video below.
BETA Technologies is a fully integrated electric aviation system developer based in Vermont that has already made headlines on Electrek with its first aircraft – the ALIA-250 eVTOL. The company has spent years developing electrified versions of its aircraft using what it calls “test articles.”
BETA is unique in that it tests two prototypes simultaneously to capture twice as much performance data at once, focusing on both hovering and wing-borne flight. Speaking of wing-borne flight, BETA Technologies has shared new details of its second aircraft joining its eVTOL, an electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) plane called the CX300.
With key milestones already achieved, BETA has opened up orders for its fixed-wing electric plane alongside an operation and certification path already in place.
BETA’s eCTOL electric plane protoype has flown 386 miles
According to the release from BETA Technologies today, it now intends to certify its CX300 fixed-wing electric plane for customer use and expects to do so in the next two years, opening its order books to customers who are already locking in their reservations.
BETA shared that it has been flying the eCTOL prototype for the past couple of years, hitting several key milestones while simultaneously showcasing encouraging all-electric performance. For instance, the eCTOL has already flown over 22,000 test miles, crossed multiple state lines, and completed qualitative evaluation flights with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Air Force, and Army test pilots.
The company shared that the CX300 is the only electric aircraft to have flown through Class B and C airspace – the busiest in the US. It has also completed the longest series of real-world flights in an electric plane, flying more than 2,000 nautical miles from Plattsburgh, New York, to Bentonville, Arkansas, charging using its own infrastructure along its journey west.
BETA applied for Type Certification with the FAA last year and is now targeting 2025 as the expected timeline for approval, followed by its first electric plane deliveries to companies. That includes new and current customers, like Bristow (which made a deposit-backed order for 50 CX300s with the option for 55 more) and Air New Zealand (which confirmed three eCTOLs with the option to purchase 20 more).
The eCTOLs could serve these aviation companies as all-electric air taxis that can transport passengers and goods across shorter distances – achieving up to 386 miles in the current CX300 prototypes. Final range numbers in the production eCTOLs remain unclear at this time.
BETA explains that the fixed-wing electric plane’s airframe, batteries, propulsion, and systems are the same as the ALIA-250 eVTOL, which is already advancing through the FAA certification process. As a result, the company expects certification to go smoothly.
Furthermore, since the CX300 flies through conventional takeoff and landing methods, the BETA team believes it can be certified under the FAA’s existing rules for airplanes more quickly compared to nontraditional eVTOLs. BETA founder and CEO Kyle Clark elaborated:
We have been flying our eCTOL prototype airport-to-airport for a few years now to drive technological advancements in propulsion and systems, and now we’re seeing that there is a clear market for this product in addition to our eVTOL aircraft. Global operators are looking for practical solutions to help meet their sustainability commitments, and after seeing the cost and performance of this prototype, our customers are eager to integrate it into their fleet. With its known certification and operational path, this aircraft represents an opportunity to get electric aviation into the market, and into the hands of our customers, as quickly as possible.
Looking ahead, BETA Technologies says it will continue the design and certification of the eCTOL electric plane alongside the ALIA-250 eVTOL while it puts the finishing touches on a new production facility in Vermont, where it intends to conduct final assembly. That facility remains on track to begin manufacturing this summer. Watch BETA’s CX300 electric plane take off in the video below.