Jet-setters hoping to catch a ride on a Tesla-of-the-sky will have to be patient.
Early investors are pouring tens of millions of dollars into electric, autonomous and vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) concepts like Zunum Aero, Volocopter and Aurora Flight Sciences. But Jim Harris, aerospace and defense partner at Bain & Company, says consumers will have to wait longer than some of those companies say.
"2022 feels early to me," Harris said. "We're likely 15 to 20 years out for something like an electric aircraft used for commercial passenger transportation."
Boeing, which last week acquired Aurora and is one of Zunum's main investors, represents one of many legacy aerospace companies aiming to keep up with an industry-wide push to evolve electric technology.
"The legacy in aerospace is hardware with a little software. Now software is becoming a much bigger part of this," Harris said, before adding that legacy aerospace companies will have to move to a model based on software.