Suzuki and SkyDrive begin manufacture of eVTOL flying cars

Five months after they signed a manufacturing cooperation contract, Suzuki Motor Corp and SkyDrive have kicked off production of the electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Manufacturing capacity at the Suzuki-owned plant is 100 eVTOLs a year.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 11 Mar 2024 Views icon1857 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Suzuki Motor Corporation and SkyDrive Inc, headquartered in Toyota City, have started manufacturing of ‘flying cars’ in Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is characterised by electrification and a fully autonomous autopilot. It is also called Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) or Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

It was in June 2023 that Suzuki and SkyDrive signed a manufacturing cooperation contract for the manufacture of Skydrive (SD-05 type) at a plant owned by the Suzuki Group in Iwata City through SkyDrive’s subsidiary Sky Works Inc and have since been cooperating toward start of manufacturing.

The first riveting ceremony, which took place on March 6, 2024, was attended by Toshihiro Suzuki, Representative Director and President of Suzuki, Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, all employees from Sky Works and other representatives. The ceremony marked the beginning of production and served as a symbol of the collaboration between SkyDrive and Suzuki. In addition to the aircraft to be used at the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan, aircraft for sales to customers will be manufactured at this plant.

SkyDrive, which states that it is committed to delivering safer, more affordable, quieter, and emission-free aerial mobility solutions, has a manufacturing capacity of up to 100 eVTOLs per year at the Suzuki-owned plant and aims to meet the growing demand for urban air mobility solutions.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, said: “Partnering with Suzuki, a renowned automotive manufacturer, is a momentous occasion for SkyDrive. It is the beginning of a new phase.  We share a goal of quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, making them an ideal partner in our quest to revolutionize urban air mobility.”

Nobuo Kishi, President of Sky Works Inc., added, “We are thrilled to begin production of the Skydrive (SD-05) with Suzuki’s manufacturing specialists. This facility allows us to produce high-quality eVTOLs efficiently and effectively, ensuring we meet the needs of our customers.”

Suzuki Motor Corp is cooperating in the development of technologies including weight reduction gained through the basic policy of ‘Sho, Sho, Kei, Tan, Bi (Smaller, Fewer, Lighter, Shorter, Neater)’ and electrification, mass-production technologies, and business development in markets including India. In recent years, the demand for personal transportation has increased due to easing congestion and streamlining overall traffic in the urban areas, as well as shift in requirements to ‘transport as needed’.

L-R: Toshihiro Suzuki, Representative Director and President of Suzuki, and Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive in front of a 20% scaled SkyDrive SD-05 at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 held in January.

eVTOL showcased at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024
In January 2024, SkyDrive Inc announced that it had secured additional funding in its Series C round through a third-party allotment of new shares to Suzuki Motor Corporation, which will accelerate the development and manufacturing of its eVTOL aircraft. SkyDrive and Suzuki had jointly participated and exhibited at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 where they exhibited the 1/5 scaled SkyDrive (SD-05) at the Maruti Suzuki India booth. With the agreement on business and technology collaboration with Suzuki, the two companies had stated that they “will explore and strengthen the business development of eVTOL in the Indian market.”

SkyDrive Inc had announced the signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement to cooperate and enable the future of eVTOL aircraft operations in Gujarat. With the agreement, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and SkyDrive will explore the settings of the ecosystem that is required for social implementation of the eVTOL aircraft within Gujarat by 2027. In addition to developing the Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem, SkyDrive also plans to carry out feasibility studies of creating new business related to its eVTOL aircraft in Gujarat within the cooperation agreement.

On January 12, 2024, SkyDrive signed an MoU with Cyient, a global intelligent engineering and technology solutions company headquartered in Hyderabad for a joint technical collaboration on the eVTOL SkyDrive. This is the Japanese company’s first and unique partnership with an Indian engineering company, which has agreed to work across product development, engineering, manufacturing, and digital services. 

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