Bell Helicopter unveils Nexus air taxi

Bell Helicopter

BELL HELICOPTER used the CES 2019 technology exhibition in Las Vegas in January to reveal a fullscale mock-up of its Nexus air taxi vehicle.

Revealed at the show on January 7, 2019, the Nexus is powered by a Safran Hybrid- Electric Propulsion System driving six tilting ducted fans.

Mitch Snyder, Bell president and CEO said: “As space at the ground level becomes limited, we must solve transportation challenges in the vertical dimension – and that’s where Bell’s on-demand mobility vision takes hold. The industry has anticipated the reveal of our air taxi for some time, so Bell is very proud of this moment.”

Snyder added: “We believe the design, taken with our strategic approach to build this infrastructure, will lead to the successful deployment of the Bell Nexus to the world.”

The Nexus air taxi vehicle is being developed by an in industry team which comprises Bell, EPS, Garmin, Moog, Safran and Thales, collectively referred to as Team Nexus.

Under the partnership agreement Bell will lead design, development and production of the Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) system, Safran will provide the propulsion and drive systems, EPS will be responsible for the provision of energy storage systems, Thales will develop the flight control computer hardware and software, Moog will develop the flight control actuators and Garmin will integrate the avionics and vehicle management computer. Safran’s Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System (HEPS) will be capable of delivering in excess of 600kWe of power and the company said it is committed to becoming the market leader in HEPS technology by 2025.

The HEPS propulsion system distributes thermal and/or electrical energy, depending upon the phase of flight, to the multiple rotor system. It consists of an electrical generation sub-system that uses a turbogenerator and batteries, as well as an electrical power management sub-system and electric motors, to collectively generate lift and propulsion. Jean-Baptiste Jarin, Vice President Hybrid Propulsion System Programme at Safran said: “This partnership with Bell in the on-demand mobility sector is a strategic opportunity for Safran. Nexus is the first of a new breed of aircraft, it opens the doors to new markets and new missions. Fully committed to these challenges and sharing a common vision with Bell, we now look forward to seeing it fly.”

Bell Helicopter