Japan-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) plane maker SkyDrive has gotten a bit more tailwind in the commercialization push of its three-seat “flying car” with an order of 50 craft from leasing firm Solyu of South Korea.
SkyDrive described the purchase as taking the form of a memorandum of understanding – one of the several contractual configurations buyers use to create wiggle room in the event developers of eVTOL aircraft can’t deliver as promised. From external appearances, however, Solyu isn’t likely to be disappointed in that way, given the progress the Japanese startup has made in developing its flying car concept.
SkyDrive is currently undergoing the certification process for its SD-05 eVTOL with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. It also began laying the groundwork for authorization and sales of the plane in the US with its decision last February to open offices in South Carolina.
Its new agreement, meanwhile, marks SkyDrive’s planned operation in South Korea through Solyu’s aircraft leasing business, which is now focusing on eVTOL use as a means of solving several transportation problems at once.
For starters, reliance on battery-powered flying cars and air taxis for short inner- and intra-urban hops is expected to offer some relief to the severe traffic congestion in and around most of the nation’s cities.
According to the government’s Korea Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) Roadmap, meanwhile, next-generation electric planes are expected to cut both time and social costs lost to clogged ground transport by a full 70%.
“The eVTOL market will bring opportunities for reducing global emissions and increasing traveler convenience,” said Andrew Claerbout, president of Solyu. “We’re honored to work with SkyDrive and the award-winning SD-05 to develop this global market.”
While SkyDrive has signed previous purchase contracts with buyers in the US and Vietnam for…