ePlane are regulars on the eVTOL/Drone Trade Show and Conference circuit, so it was no surprise to see the Indian company at the recent London Drone X. Its two-seat eVTOL dubbed “the e200” is described as “the most compact air taxi in the world” and is a major contender from India.
With a size of just 5×5 metres and a surprising range of 200km, company spokesman, Shivank Kumar, confirmed the ePlane will begin trials next year with all eyes on 2024 for commercial service. The company aims to find a manufacturing base in 2023 with an initial annual capacity of 100 planes. Bengaluru and Mumbai are to be the company’s entry markets.
Kumar explained a fully autonomous version would be available by 2030, but pointed out the entry is dependent on India’s aviation regulator adopting eVTOL certification.
Professor Satya Chakravarthy
The company, founded by Professor Satya Chakravarthy from the IT-Madras Institution and his student, Pranjal Mehta, aim to revolutionise city mobility with a fleet of proposed e-planes that will make door-to-door journeys more rapidly and cheaply than a comparable Uber road-trip. Moreover, the e200, claim its creators, has the ability to take off and land from rooftops of a residence and requires no elaborate infrastructure comparable to a vertiport, helipad or runway.
Mark Martin, Head of India’s aviation trade consultancy, Martin Consulting LLC, points out the regulatory problems faced. “It’s a nice thought, but there are various difficulties to the company’s plans as India doesn’t have the correct air regulations, infrastructure or manufacturing base.” He added, “The required expertise exists in Europe, China and the US.”
Yet Prof. Chakravarthy is not put off. He commented, “We will begin by striving for a design certification. That is the start. Then we will produce a number of prototypes during the next 12 months.” He continued, “We must maintain our focus, develop a great product and go to market with it.”
ePlane is attending the Instanbul ‘Air Taxi World Congress’ from September 13th to 15th.
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