Japanese Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) firm SkyDrive has announced that the company has confirmed its first pre-order for its SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft.
SkyDrive confirmed on July 20, 2023, that it had secured a pre-order Letter of Intent (LOI) with Austin Aviation, a South Carolina-based charter aircraft company and subsidiary of Lowcountry Aviation Company.
In January 2023, SkyDrive announced its plans to enter the US market and establish a home base in South Carolina for an “AAM ecosystem”.
SkyDrive is already working in collaboration with Volatus Infrastructure which is planning to build permanent vertiports and charging stations in many US states.
SkyDrive was attracted to South Carolina because it was home to companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The southern state also has a mild climate throughout the year, abundant tourism, and airports close to city centers, making it a good fit for SkyDrive’s plans.
“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from local, regional, and state organizations here in South Carolina to develop our technology and operations within the state. We are thrilled to be taking this next step of working more closely with all South Carolina stakeholders, with the ultimate aim of placing South Carolina at the forefront of the AAM infrastructure development in the U.S. and making our aircraft more widely accessible in the future,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, founder, and CEO of SkyDrive.
While SkyDrive continues to develop its South Carolina footprint from its home base in Beaufort the company will utilize Lowcountry Aviation Company’s existing facilities on an as-needed basis.
“Sustainable electric propulsion vertical take-off and landing vehicles are the next new exciting challenge in General Aviation, following the early lead of the automotive industry with electric propulsion. With the SkyDrive vehicle and all South Carolina stakeholders, we look forward to being a part of this next exciting chapter in General Aviation, as this new pioneering electric technology matures into reality,” said Alex Cavazzoni, president of Austin Aviation.
SkyDrive was formally established in July 2018 after testing flying car concepts and prototypes from 2014.
Its eVTOL aircraft, named SkyDrive SD-05, is a three-seater (one pilot and two passengers) vehicle and will travel approximately 15 km.
The commercial aircraft will debut in 2025 at the Expo 2024 in Osaka, Japan.