November 9, 2023
A Japanese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker has partnered with a power company to develop an electric charging infrastructure to service its flying vehicles.
Tokyo-based SkyDrive and KEPCO started working together in 2022 leading to the new joint development project.
KEPCO now plans to enter the advanced air mobility (AAM) charging infrastructure business and has started accepting pre-orders from domestic and international customers for its charging structures.
The KEPCO charging system connects to an energy management system and charges the battery using renewable energy sources, according to the company.
SkyDrive recently received $82 million in a grant from the Japanese government.
The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry selected SkyDrive for the Next Generation Air Mobility Field, as part of an innovation promotion project.
The grant is a Japanese government initiative to support startup companies working on advanced technologies that address challenges in society.
SkyDrive plans for its flying cars to be manufactured at a Suzuki plant starting in the spring of 2024.
Up to 100 of the SkyDrive flying vehicles could be created annually at the subsidiary Sky Works at the Suzuki-owned plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka.
SkyDrive and Suzuki formed a strategic partnership last year to collaborate on business and technology research and development, manufacturing and mass production systems and the development of international markets.
SkyDrive’s stated vision is “to create a future where everyone has access to eVTOLs as their daily transportation in Japan and across the world.”
“It features a unique patent pending rotor frame technology that allows it to land on rooftops, making it suitable and accessible aircraft for family, friends and commuters with an affordable operating cost per person,” according to SkyDrive.
SkyDrive has a deal to sell up to 50 electric aerial vehicles (EAV) to an aircraft leasing company Solyu in Korea, which is in the business of aircraft leasing and financing and aims to use EAVs to aid the severe traffic congestion there.
SkyDrive was established in 2018 and conducted its first crewed flight test in Japan in 2019.
The company has applied for certification from Japan’s Civil Aeronautics Law, which has to approve the design, structure, strength and performance of any newly developed aircraft.
The certification applies to SkyDrive’s SD-05, the flying vehicle SkyDrive plans to launch in an air taxi service in 2025.
SkyDrive earlier teamed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to improve noise reduction on eVTOL vehicles.
While electric engines enable lower noise operations, SkyDrive aims to create EAVs that take off and land in neighborhoods and be used as a daily form of transportation.
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