A consortium featuring Mobius.Energy, MintAir, Skyworks Aeronautics, Lotte Rental and Lotte Corporation has been established to help launch eVTOL aircraft services in the city of Incheon, South Korea.

The companies involved intend to establish a vibrant runway with independent electric air mobility passenger and cargo movement capability. It also intends to develop a pilot training programme, as well as maintenance and repair capabilities in the region to support efficient, scalable operations across the peninsula.

This includes all the necessary certification and infrastructure development to support flight testing and the commercial launch of a urban air mobility service using Skyworks’ eGyro™ aircraft. It can transport up to four passengers distances between 30 and 100 miles, at speeds of 100 to 150mph.

John E. Michel, Skyworks Aeronautics CEO, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Skyworks and our partners, Lotte Rental, Lotte Corporation, Mobius.Energy and MintAir, to partner with a leading city in South Korea with a very progressive and comprehensive vision for establishing a future of electrified UAM aircraft.

“Our goal is to be the first in the world to demonstrate compelling UAM capabilities with eGyro flights for the maximum range with full payload within the country of Korea. It is ambitious and exhilarating and we have just the team to achieve this notable endeavour.”

Mobius.energy is a startup based in Orange Country, California but its predecessor InnoTM was founded in 2014 to co-develop the next generation battery with Tesla. Mobius.energy has developed what it says is a safe, light and energy-efficient battery module architecture optimised for electric types of all types.

Its standard high-power module is called Husky 2P45, with its high discharge rate provides on-demand power boost needed during take-off, hovering and landing. The simple design enables easy maintenance, on-site swapping and cost-effective re-use and recylcing.

Mobius.energy has said it plans to deliver its modules through a subscription model, including maintenance and salvage services. Repurposing its modules for a second life in the stationary market and providing end-of-life recycling will create a circular economy helping to decarbonise the aviation industry.

“Demonstrating maximum range flight with full payload is an important milestone for aviation certification of electric aircraft and commercial deployment of UAM service. Being the first to prove the maximum range flight capability will be a game changer” said Jongwon ‘JP’ Park, Mobius.energy’s Chief Strategy Officer.

LOTTE Corporation is a holding company of LOTTE Group, based in Seoul. LOTTE Group was formally established in 1967 and has since grown to become Korea’s fifth-biggest conglomerate, encompassing four key business areas including food and drink, retail, chemical, hotel and service with more than 90 affiliates. LOTTE Group is in over 30 countries around the world. 

LOTTE Rental is the described as the number one vehicle rental supplier in South Korea. Its main goal is to become a leading provider of mobility solutions and full range rental services. In order to achieve this goal, LOTTE Rental plans to develop a platform that offers comprehensive, convenient and flexible use of mobility and rental assets. Such mission can be driven by utilising customer data that LOTTE Group already possess, which includes the data of 40 million LOTTE members and L.pay customers.

Dong-woo Lee, LOTTE Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “LOTTE Group’s long-term vision includes leadership in a low carbon future including the eco-friendly mobility industry. Under this vision, we have joined the Consortium to prepare for the upcoming era of UAM. LOTTE Group, including LOTTE Rental, will invest relevant resources and capabilities to successfully carry out this demonstration project with the Consortium, IAIAC and Incheon Metropolitan City.”

Hyun-soo Kim, LOTTE RENTAL’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “Lotte Rental is a leading company in Korea’s ground mobility-based living platform service. Lotte Rental will establish a mobility ecosystem that leads the global market through organic connection with UAM and ground mobility services. We are excited to partner with global leaders on this important initiative developing the UAM industry.”

The city of Incheon has already played its part in the urban air mobility market in Korea, with Volocopter performing a demonstration flight with its 2X eVTOL aircraft at the city earlier this month. The event coincided with K-UAM Confex 2021, which was attended by the President of Incheon International Airport Corporation and Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City, Nam-choon Park.

He said: “Incheon Metropolitan City welcomes the consortium to Incheon region for eGyro demonstration flight and commercialisation of UAM service. The city is open to UAM business and will support industry efforts interested in partnering with Incheon.”

While MintAir is building an UAM Service in South Korea. MintAir’s approach is to facilitate an ecosystem of partners to accelerate the adoption of electric flight in Korea. A former global engineering part manufacturing company, MintAir will take advantage of its global business experience and network to accelerate the development of the Urban Air Mobility ecosystem in Asia-Pacific region

Eugene Choi, MintAir’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are excited to partner with an innovative Incheon Metropolitan City, where the world class Incheon International Airport is located; the Institute for Aerospace Industry-Academia Collaboration (IAIAC) who is building a vibrant UAM ecosystem in Korea; and Lotte Corporation and Lotte Rental who will bring resources and experience of a large global corporation. We are confident that these partnerships will accelerate commercial deployment of UAM service in Korea.”

Other recent developments in South Korea include Volocopter’s work with Kakao Mobility, Skyports and Kencoa Aerospace’s collaboration to implement cargo drone deliveries and EHang conducting test flights with its 216 AAV in three locations at the end of 2020. Additionally, the country’s government has set up a public-private consultation group called UAM Team Korea to help commercialise air taxis. Member companies include Supernal, Hanwha Systems, Korean Air, SK Telecom and Doosan Mobility Solutions.