The Joby Monarch – Rising Above It All

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

JoeBen Bevirt is an extraordinary individual – and that’s no hyperbole.  Creating a lucrative underpinning with his line of knobby, infinitely-adjustable tripods, cell-phone and iPad™ holders, and LED lights, he has expanded into designing giant kites to fly into upper-atmosphere winds and generate high-output electricity. 

To loft these kites, he has created a line of motors with the aid of Diederik Marius, shown on the Joby Motors web site, and so far include two versions each of the JM1S and JM2S.  Each can be configured with different windings for different applications. 

Joby JM-155-25, 1,800 grams and up to 16 horsepower

The JM1S weighs 1.8 kilograms (3.96 pounds) and can put out 12 kilowatts peak (16 horsepower) at 6,000 rpm.  Diminutive, it is only154 millimeters in diameter (6.06 inches) and 53 mm (2.08 inches) thick.  Although recommended usage includes radio-controlled models, one can see electric ultralight aircraft being designed in enthusiasts’ heads.  Prices are $895 and $955 for the two configurations of the motor.

The larger JM2S weighs 3.35 kg (7.37 pounds), and produces 15 kW peak (20.1 hp) at 2,500 rpm.  Prices start at $1,099. 

Both motors feature 10,000-hour dual bearings, a characteristic anodized alloy outer ring (stator) and 22 poles (JM1S) or 46 (JM2S).   Drop the “S” from the designation and each motor becomes a little thicker and heavier, draws a few more Amps, and puts out more power and torque. 

The JM1S twists 13 Newton-meters, or 9.58 foot-pounds continuously, while the JM1 exerts 21 N-m (15.49 ft-lb.).  The JM2S manages 40 N-m (29.5 ft-lb.) and the JM2 produces 53 N-m (39 ft-lb.), all impressive for such small motors.

With these light, torquey little units available, what’s an intrepid designer to do?  Make a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle to shorten the daily commute – of course!  JoeBen announced his Monarch Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa, California on April 29 and caught a lot of attention with his animated video of the eight-motor craft levitating, climbing, travelling and landing in a depiction of a perfect commute.

Such technology in the hands of amateur pilots will require a lot of automation (know anyone with an eight-engined multi checkout?) which Joby is capable of managing.  Note the $550 autopilot on their Robotics page

The prototype is under construction at Windward Performance in Bend, Oregon, with designer Greg Cole making almost everything but the motors and controllers in house (that may explain the resemblance to the SparrowHawk sailplane).  Although JoeBen did not mention pricing in his CAFE talk, an earlier presentation mentioned a price under $30,000, possible with the low cost of the motors and automation available if volume production took off, but obviously not with batteries.  He has also mentioned going 100 miles for a $1.00 recharge.  If that doesn’t get people out of their cars, what will?

One extension of such technology would be the need to revamp our outdated air traffic control system into a more flexible, dynamic entity, all the more reason to hope for JoeBen’s success.

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