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Sky’s the limit: Maruti Suzuki ventures into electric air copters | Company News

Country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki, is venturing into electric air copters, according to a report by the Times of India (TOI). Teaming up with its Japanese parent company, Suzuki, Maruti aims to introduce compact electric air copters, bridging the gap between drones and conventional helicopters, offering transport capabilities for up to three passengers, including the pilot.

Dubbed “SkyDrive,” these electric air copters boast 12 units of motors and rotors. They are slated to make their debut at the 2025 Osaka Expo in Japan.

The move is a part of Maruti’s plans to pioneer innovative mobility solutions on ground as well as aerial. The company will initially target markets in Japan and the US before transitioning to India.

The new initiative is aimed to be comparable to ground-based ride-sharing services like Uber and Ola. These electric air taxis also hold the potential to completely redefine urban transportation paradigms.

The SkyDrive’s lightweight design, with a take-off weight nearly half that of conventional helicopters, enables versatile deployment options, including rooftop take-offs and landings, leveraging existing urban infrastructure. Furthermore, electrification-driven efficiency enhancements are aimed at significantly reducing manufacturing and maintenance costs, making the technology economically feasible. A keen emphasis has been placed on affordability to better resonate with Indian consumers.

Ogura outlined SkyDrive’s evolving capabilities, projecting a range increase from 15 km initially to 30 km by 2029 and further to 40 km by 2031, catering to India’s expansive geography and transportation needs.

Beyond market exploration, Maruti is also actively exploring manufacturing prospects in India, aligning with the ‘Make in India’ initiative to leverage local production advantages and drive economic viability. Kento Ogura, assistant manager at Suzuki Motor’s global automobile planning department, revealed ongoing discussions with India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, and feasibility studies to facilitate this ambitious endeavour, added to a report by the Economic Times.

Maruti is engaging in dialogue with Indian authorities to fulfil the necessary approvals and operational frameworks to facilitate a seamless introduction of electric air copters into the Indian airspace. While the timeline for local manufacturing remains fluid, the company acknowledges India’s potential as a cost-effective production hub.

First Published: Feb 12 2024 | 12:01 PM IST

Read More: Sky’s the limit: Maruti Suzuki ventures into electric air copters | Company News

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