UPDATE – Embraer is establishing a new joint venture company with Japan’s Nidec Corporation to develop electric propulsion systems for urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles. This includes the eVTOL designed by Eve Air Mobility, a company spun off from Embraer in late 2021. Eve will be the launch customer of the first system that is developed by the new company. More aerospace applications are on Nidec Aerospace’s radar. Eve first adopter of Embraer-Nidec electric power system.
Called Nidec Aerospace, the company will be owned 51 percent by Nidec and 49 percent by Embraer. It will have its headquarters in St. Louis (Missouri) and will be supported by both companies’ existing industrial footprint in Brazil and Mexico.
Nidec Motor Corporation (NMC) is a leading manufacturer of commercial, industrial, and appliance motors and controls. The company produces large and small electric motors that serve industrial, residential, and commercial markets. Applications include agriculture, water treatment, mining, oil and gas, and power generation to pool and spa motors, air conditioning condensers, rooftop cooling towers, and commercial refrigeration. NMC also makes motors, controls, and switches for automotive and commercial markets.
The UAM market is new territory for Nedic, which will bring its experience “to design, certify, produce, and commercialize next-generation electric propulsion systems based on well-proven technologies suitable for powering more efficient and greener aircraft models. The JV will develop and manufacture the Electric Propulsion System for electric Vertical Take-Off Landing (eVTOL) vehicles, with the aim of providing the system to non-eVTOL vehicles in the future,” Embraer says in a media statement.
Embraer and Nidec say they have a long history of technological and business collaboration with other global partners. “Innovation is our future growth driver and a key pillar of our strategic plan. That’s why I’m extremely excited about this strategic partnership with Nidec to develop agnostics solutions for the aerospace sector,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, President and CEO at Embraer. “Demand for electric propulsion systems is growing exponentially in the aerospace sector, and we are confident that Nidec and Embraer together can accelerate the development of advanced products to enable the future of sustainable aviation.”
Embraer says that the joint venture remains subject to antitrust approvals, other possible regulatory approvals, and customary closing conditions. It also needs approval from the board of directors of both companies. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023.
Going beyond UAMs
In a press conference on Sunday morning, Nidec and Embraer made it clear that this joint venture has applications beyond just UAMs but could also include electric propulsion for small or even regional aircraft. Remember that Embraer is working on the Energia family of hybrid-electric aircraft.
“This is to be an agnostic joint venture. Of course, EVE is the launch customer but the idea is to offer the products to other customers,” said CEO Francisco Gomes Neto. “The Energia family is another candidate we have in the pipeline and projects from other OEMs as well. Bringing together these two companies, the technology and the manufacturing of Nidec and the know-how of Embraer on how to certify airplanes, we believe can offer good products to the market.”
During the event, Nedic and Embraer unveiled a 1 to 2-scale model of the electric motor, which will have a power output of 70 kiloWatt but go to up to 120 kW. Nidec might be new in the aerospace industry, but it has big ambitions to build its presence. “In Embraer, we found the right partner to launch in aerospace,” said Creg Gorman, Chief Growth Officer. “Right now, there are probably about ten competitors out there, but there are not many manufacturers of large electric motors that made the decision to enter this space yet.”
The AAM market still has to prove itself, but Nidec is certain there is a healthy business case to be made: ‘It is all about electrification. We talk about decarbonization. As an electric motor supplier, we know there is going to be an opportunity. So there is no doubt in our mind. This is a very long-term commitment. There will be competitors, but compete with a lot of competitors,” said Gorman.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.