Joby Aviation, an electric aircraft manufacturer, has announced plans to invest up to US$500 million in the construction of a new facility in Dayton, Ohio. The 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport will serve as the company’s first serial production location for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxis. Joby’s move represents a shift from prototype production at its pilot line in California to mass production.

Joby Aviation, founded by JoeBen Bevirt, is aiming to secure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its eVTOL aircraft to commence commercial passenger services by 2025. The company plans to initiate hiring for the manufacturing of aircraft components at existing buildings in Dayton, with construction of the new production facility scheduled to begin in 2024 and operations set to start in 2025.

While specific production rates and initial funding for the Dayton facility remain undisclosed, the state of Ohio and various political organizations have reportedly offered up to US$325 million in incentives and benefits to support the project’s development. Ultimately, the site has the potential to accommodate manufacturing facilities larger than the Pentagon, generating 2,000 jobs and producing 500 aircraft annually, according to Joby Aviation.

Unlike some eVTOL competitors that intend to sell aircraft directly to airlines and logistics companies, Joby Aviation’s business model is more akin to rideshare apps, allowing customers to request air taxi rides provided by the company. Joby unveiled its first production-representative eVTOL prototype in June, designed to accommodate four passengers and a pilot. The company is intensifying its testing efforts to meet the rigorous requirements for FAA certification.