Japan’s SkyDrive this week confirmed more details about its plan to start series production of its three-seat SD-05 eVTOL aircraft. The start-up announced it has established a subsidiary production company called Sky Works in partnership with Suzuki Motor Corporation, which is providing capacity at its factory in Iwata City to assemble the aircraft at an initial rate of 100 units per year.
The new company was established on September 1, with SkyDrive’s chief technology officer Nobuo Kishi appointed as its president. The move builds on the partnership announced with Suzuki at the Paris Air Show in June.
According to SkyDrive, it will start producing the first SD-05 prototypes in the Spring of 2024 to get the aircraft ready for flight testing. Series production is expected to begin in 2026 when the company aims to complete type certification with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. It plans to fly the vehicle for demonstration purposes during the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.
Meanwhile, SkyDrive and Suzuki executives are also now working on possible use cases for the SD-05 aircraft in India. During recent discussions with prospective stakeholders in the country, they pressed the case for eVTOL vehicles to be used to reduce pollution from cars in crowded Indian cities and also for services such as sightseeing flights. The partners indicated they may have an interest in establishing research and development and manufacturing facilities in India.
SkyDrive and Suzuki will jointly exhibit at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo which opens on October 28. The display for the Tokyo Future Tour section of the show will feature a one-fifth scale model of the recently redesigned SD-05 and a full-scale mock-up of the earlier SD-03 technology demonstrator.