Joby Aviation and automotive powerhouse Toyota are further deepening their relationship. After an equity investment and a consulting role, Toyota is now set to become a key supplier for the powertrain and actuation components for Joby’s eVTOL, the two companies announced on April 27. Toyota gets a supplier role with Joby Aviation.
Toyota will manufacture the parts under Joby’s design specifications and deliver them to the company’s powertrain and electronics facility in San Carlos (California). Here, they will be integrated into finished assemblies that are delivered to the pilot production line in Marina elsewhere in the state. Construction of the facility was completed last year. Joby plans to certify its eVTOL in 2024 and launch commercial services with Delta Air Lines in 2025.
The Japanese company has a key role in advising Joby on the industrial and assembly process in the pilot production line in Marina. Through its subsidiary Aero Asahi, Toyota is working with Joby and the Japanese regulator JCAB to validate the FAA-type certification for the vehicle in Japan and make operations possible. Toyota also is Joby’s largest shareholder with a $400 million investment.
“We are very pleased to have reached this milestone with our key partner. Our mutual goal is mass production of eVTOL and helping Joby apply the best practices of the Toyota Production System in meeting high quality, reliability, safety, and strict cost standards,” said Keji Yamamoto, President of Toyota Motor Corporation Connected Company in a media statement.
In its 2022 annual report, Joby said about the partnership with Toyota: “We believe that our collaboration with Toyota has provided and continues to provide us with a significant competitive advantage as we design and build out our high-volume manufacturing capability. In addition to being the world’s largest automaker, Toyota is globally recognized for delivering quality, safety, and reliability at scale, all of which are necessary characteristics in aerospace manufacturing. We believe this makes Toyota a strong collaboration partner as we continue to develop our high-volume manufacturing capabilities.”
Toyota’s involvement with the aerospace industry goes beyond Joby. For example, Toyota Production Systems and Embraer have a partnership to optimize the manufacturing and assembly process of the Brazilian airframer which should allow it to reduce lead times and increase production rates.
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. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.