April 18, 2023
‘Logistics would probably be our first customer’
As the first-ever conference on Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) recently got underway in Bangalore, we caught up with one of its delegates Professor Satya Chakravarthy, a faculty at IIT Madras and the founder of The ePlane Company.
"The prototype we have worked on is called the e6, which can carry 6 kg payloads. We are also in the process of flight testing the e50 that can carry 50 kgs of payload. The e6 is the size of a drone, whereas the e200 is the size of an airplane and has a payload of 200 kg."
"We are making a two-seater eVTOL called e200 and have completed its design and will be doing the engineering part in the next two months. The e200 is a two-seater including the pilot. "
"The e200 will not carry cargo instead we are developing the e100 which can carry 100 kg of payload. So the e100 is essentially a cargo version of the e200 without a pilot, which is what we are working on right now. The e100 will come under drone rules and both the e200 and e100 are expected to be operational by the end of the year."
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"We have raised about $6 million in capital so far. We are currently in the market trying to look for $20 million. We have had an interest in partnerships primarily in terms of shoring up the supply chain or looking at potential manufacturing partners which include existing leading automotive players."
"Except for the charging infrastructure, we pretty much have something going in most cities in the form of existing helipads, so we can start from there. Our goal is to actually land on rooftops of buildings or frontages of apartments and complexes, office spaces, and parking lots - those are basically existing spaces."
"Logistics or carrying packages would probably be our first customer because we are talking about cargo first. This will be true for the e6, e50, and e100 and this will lead to the subsequent ones. There are some logistics players who do only large cargo and some do both small and large cargo and we plan to serve both."
"Deployment with the e6 can happen anytime now. With the e100 we are expecting the deployment to happen by the end of the year and we believe that the initial use case will come from logistics."
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