SkyDrive Unveils Design Changes, Suzuki Manufacturing Partnership

Credit: SkyDrive

LE BOURGET—Japanese startup SkyDrive has announced design changes to its electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle, alongside a new manufacturing partnership with automotive and motorcycle maker Suzuki.

The design changes, announced June 19 at the Paris Air Show here, take Tokyo-based SkyDrive’s vehicle from one passenger to two, in addition to a pilot. To accommodate the increase in cabin capacity, the vehicle’s maximum takeoff weight will rise to 1,400 kg (3,100 lb.) from 1,100 kg. Operating range will increase to 15 km (9 mi.), up from 5-10 km previously.

Including rotors, the newly modified design comes to 13 m x 13 m x 3 m, up from 9.4 m x 9.4 m x 2.7 m.

The company also said the vehicle will be eponymously designated as the SKYDRIVE.

“SkyDrive has been testing and verifying the design change from a seating capacity of two to three passengers for some time in order to meet the needs of operators and end users,” the company said in a statement. “The change will enable a more profitable operation and a more convenient and enjoyable experience.”

In addition to the design change, SkyDrive also announced a new manufacturing partnership with Suzuki. The company's air taxis are planned to be manufactured at a production facility owned by Suzuki in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, beginning in spring 2024. 

“Suzuki and SkyDrive have been collaborating since March 2022 and we are very excited that SkyDrive will utilize the production facility of Suzuki to build our eVTOL,” SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in a statement. “We are grateful for the valuable know-how we will learn from Suzuki, a global leader in automobile mass production, and we will work closely together toward our shared goal.”

Ben Goldstein

Based in Boston, Ben covers advanced air mobility and is managing editor of Aviation Week Network’s AAM Report.