The newly unveiled Nexus is a look at the future of transport that is both interesting and far-reaching, turning to a tilting six-rotor design to take off and propel itself through the air.
Bell hasn't been as active as some others when it comes to flying taxis, at least when it comes to full-scale concepts. The likes of Volocopter, Aston Martin, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Airbus have all shown off their ideas for flying taxis with some pretty detailed concepts emerging – and in the case of Airbus, some promising full-scale testing results already in the bag.
But by partnering with Uber as part of its flying taxi vision in 2017 and then debuting an air taxi cabin concept at CES last year, Bell showed that it was at least intent on dipping its toes in the water. It is now going waste-deep with what it bills as a full-scale vertical-takeoff-and-landing air taxi for this year's show, dubbed Nexus.
The air taxi's hybrid propulsion and drive systems are designed by French manufacturer Safran Helicopter Engines, and center around six rotors that lay flat like pancakes when Nexus is stationary on the ground.
Power comes from a mix of onboard batteries and a gas turbine that drives an electrical generator, with a management unit balancing the output between the two to drive six smart electric motors. These in turn drive the six tilting propellors to provide lift, speed and flight control through the air.