Suzuki Invests Further in SkyDrive While Targeting the Indian Air Taxi Market

The SD-05 is currently being displayed at a tech event in Gujarat, India 9 photos
Photo: SkyDrive
Japanese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) maker SkyDrive is beginning the year on a high note, with additional funding from its powerful partner, the Suzuki Motor Group, and a promising connection to the Indian AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) market.
While other eVTOL makers made sure to show up at the CES 2024 in Las Vegas, SkyDrive is showing off its high-tech electric air taxi at another major industry event. It's the Gujarat Global Summit 2024, taking place from January 9 to 13 in the state of Gujarat, India. The SD-05 aircraft (a 1/5-scale prototype of the SkyDrive air taxi) is displayed at the Maruti-Suzuki India Limited booth.

With direct help from Suzuki, SkyDrive plans to expand to the Indian market, which has one of the greatest potentials worldwide for electric air taxi operations. In addition to joining the eVTOL manufacturer at the prestigious exhibition in India, Suzuki also gave it a financial boost for speeding up the development and manufacturing process.

This comes as a natural step after the Japanese eVTOL maker recently confirmed that it would use a Suzuki factory to start making electric air taxis, with a targeted production of up to 100 units per year. Sky Works, the production subsidiary of SkyDrive, will use the Suzuki-owned plant in Iwata City, Japan, to start manufacturing eVTOLs. Production is due to start in just a few months from now, by early Spring.

The exploration of the Indian market prospects also began last year, bolstered by the Suzuki Group's long-time connection to the area. The specific focus points for SkyDrive operations in India are places where religious tourism is prevalent. Traditional pilgrimage routes along rivers and across mountains could be ideally suited for emission-free, fast eVTOL flights in the future.

The latest design and specifications of the SkyDrive eVTOL were announced at the Paris Air Show in 2023. It was introduced as a three-seat aircraft (two passengers plus the pilot) with a 12-rotor configuration. Performance-wise, this is a short-distance air taxi designed for a range no longer than 15 km (9 miles) and a maximum speed of 100 kph (62 mph).

The official SD-05 was unveiled three years after the SD-03 prototype completed its first demonstration flight as a crewed electric air taxi. Still, the SD-05 is just another stepping stone toward the final destination. The futuristic SD-XX flying car will make emission-free, sky-driving accessible for everyone – that is the goal, but we still have to wait decades before that happens.

In the meantime, SkyDrive is gearing up for its flagship aircraft's official debut at the World Expo 2025, which will take place in Osaka, Japan, and is already looking to be a historic event for electric air mobility.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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