Transforming Urban Mobility: United and Eve to Bring eVTOLs to the SF Bay Area


At this year’s SXSW Festival, Eve co-CEO Andre Stein took part in a panel, looking at how electric air taxis could bring together the different parts of so-called ‘polycentric’ cities. That use case could soon be brought to life thanks to an agreement United Airlines signed with the eVTOL maker for services to be introduced into the San Francisco Bay Area.

In an announcement made yesterday, United Airlines and Eve said that they will first of all work with local and state officials, infrastructure, energy and technology providers to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to introduce electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flights.  

Following that, the companies will identify origin and destination areas and the future route network for Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

“Our shared goal is to provide residents and visitors to the San Francisco Bay area with efficient and cost-competitive transportation in one of the most densely populated urban areas in the U.S.,” said Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve Air Mobility. “The Bay Area is perfect for eVTOL flights given its size, traffic, focus on sustainability, innovation and commitment to add other options for mobility.”

97 hours spent in traffic a year

The Bay Area ranks 15th worldwide in traffic congestion, with drivers having spent an average of 97 hours in traffic last year.  

This comes as an earlier study by Melanie Rapino and Alison Fields of the US Census Bureau identified the Bay Area as the region with the highest percentage of ‘mega commuting’ in the United States (travelling 90 or more minutes and 50 or more miles to work). 

As a result, there’s scope for United Airlines and Eve to seamlessly connect economic centres such as Palo Alto and Mountain View (Silicon Valley), Oakland, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and of course the San Francisco Central Business District.

“Urban Air Mobility has the potential to revolutionise how United customers work, live, and travel,” said Michael Leskinen, President of United Airlines VenturesSM. “Eve’s proposed route is a critical first step towards making this all-electric and quiet commute a reality for Bay Area residents.”

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is additionally a hub for United Airlines, with United also serving Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.  As a result, United passengers based in (e.g) Cupertino or Palo Alto needing to catch an international flight from SFO will benefit from this partnership.

Eve was spun out of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.  Though Eve is now an independent company, Embraer retains majority control.

In 2022, United announced a $15 million investment in Eve Air Mobility and a conditional purchase agreement for 200 eVTOLs plus 200 options.

United says its investment in Eve was driven in part by confidence in the potential growth opportunities in the UAM market and Eve’s unique relationship with Embraer, which has a proven track record of building and certifying aircraft over the company’s 53-year history. 

Eve is looking for certification by 2026 for its all-electric aircraft, which can carry four passengers and a pilot. At SXSW, we had a preview of the Eve cabin, you can find out more here.