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eVTOL Aircrafts May Dominate The Skies

It might not be long before we see bullet trains losing their market share to eVTOL or flying taxis for city-hopping travellers, apart from commercial airlines, private jets and helicopters.

The metalworking world can look forward to a huge wave of demand for almost every sector ever since the concept of floating cars made appearances in CES 2024. XPeng AeroHT, a Chinese company at the forefront of eVTOL technology, used CES 2024 to debut their upcoming “Land Aircraft Carrier.”

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Scheduled for mass production in 2025, the Land Aircraft Carrier consists of two parts: a ground module and an air module. The ground module is a battery-electric vehicle for up to five passengers. This module has an extended-range electric powertrain and a three-axle, six-wheel configuration for enhanced all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering.

For real city hoppers, AutoFlight’s five-seater Prosperity eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft completed a significant milestone by autonomously flying the 50km (31 miles) route from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. The flight from Shenzhen to Zhuhai across the Pearl River Delta took just 20 minutes, a journey that would require three hours by car.

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This is the world’s first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route, spanning across the bay where the Pearl River meets the sea, connecting the two southern Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. This flight marks a significant milestone in the development and road to certification of this exciting new form of mobility.

Supernal, part of Hyundai Motor Group’s Advanced Air Mobility division, also used CES to showcase its latest eVTOL innovations. Specifically, the company debuted its S-A2 product concept, the follow-up to its S-A1, which was introduced at CES 2020. The S-A2 is a V-tail aircraft designed to cruise 120 miles per hour at 1,500 feet, catering to typical city operational needs for 25- to 40-mile trips. It features a distributed electric propulsion architecture with eight all-tilting rotors, ensuring vertical lift and horizontal cruise efficiency. 

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This time, Suzuki was not about to let its fellow carmakers have all the fun. Forming joint venture, SkyDrive Inc, it developed its own SkyDrive SD-05 vehicle, which SkyDrive refers to as a flying car, is being built by Sky Works, the SkyDrive manufacturing division, in partnership with Suzuki. SkyDrive plans to operate its electric aerial vehicle (EAV) at Expo 2025 Osaka, Japan.

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“Partnering with Suzuki, a renowned automotive manufacturer, is a momentous occasion for SkyDrive,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of 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.” The Suzuki manufacturing plant has the capability to produce 100 of the three-seater EAVs per year.

With the emergence of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, city-hopping travelers may soon opt for flying taxis over traditional bullet trains. Companies like XPeng AeroHT, AutoFlight, and Supernal are pioneering the development of eVTOL technology, showcasing the potential for efficient and convenient air mobility solutions.

Additionally, collaborations between automotive giants like Suzuki and SkyDrive highlight the growing interest in aerial vehicles, further accelerating the evolution of urban air mobility. As the metalworking industry gears up to meet the demand for these groundbreaking innovations, we are on the brink of a transformative era in transportation, where the skies above our cities become the new highways of tomorrow.




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