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April 28, 2024

Chennai-based Startup, The ePlane, Poised to Revolutionize Urban Transportation with Electric Air Taxi Prototype by March 2025

Urban congestion may soon meet its match as Chennai-based startup, The ePlane Company, gears up to develop a certifiable prototype of a flying electric taxi by March 2025. Incubated out of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, the company is set to pioneer innovative solutions to alleviate urban traffic woes.

Led by Founder and CEO Satya Chakravarthy, The ePlane Company’s ambitious project aims to introduce electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Initially, the aircraft will accommodate three to four passengers and can be converted into air ambulances, offering versatile solutions to urban transportation challenges.

“We expect to develop the first certifiable prototype by March next year. It will then undergo a certification process by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which may take an additional couple of years,” Chakravarthy explained.

According to the startup’s website, ePlanes will drastically reduce travel times, with a journey that typically takes 60 minutes by car being completed in just 14 minutes. The company envisions a future where eVTOLs play a significant role in reducing congestion in urban spaces.

In the interim, The ePlane Company is also venturing into the drone market. Their drones, capable of carrying payloads ranging from 2 to 50 kilograms, are expected to hit the commercial market in the coming months. These drones will be designed to cover distances of 40-60 kilometers, offering efficient and versatile cargo transport solutions.

Meanwhile, in a bid to revolutionize urban air travel, InterGlobe Enterprises and US-based Archer Aviation are planning to launch an all-electric air taxi service in India by 2026. The service aims to connect Connaught Place in Delhi to Gurugram in just 7 minutes, with Archer Aviation providing 200 eVTOL aircraft capable of carrying four passengers and a pilot.

The European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has already set guidelines for eVTOL aircraft, highlighting the potential of electric air taxis to transform intra-city travel. However, challenges such as safety concerns, regulatory hurdles, and integration with existing transport systems remain to be addressed.

“These electric air taxis offer faster intra-city travel without extensive ground infrastructure, potentially reducing congestion, noise, and emissions,” according to the EASA website. While the road ahead may be challenging, eVTOLs could become a regular sight in urban skies within the next 5 to 10 years, contingent upon resolving safety issues and regulatory complexities.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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