After scooters and trucks, you will soon be able to fly on electric vehicles. Urban air mobility player FlyBlade India has inked an MoU for a strategic partnership with Embrear’s Eve Air Mobility to bring at least 200 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOLs) to India by 2026. 

Along with this, both the companies have inked a pact to facilitate infrastructure, service and support, and Eve’s Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) software solution. The companies also plan to collaborate on a three-month pilot project connecting passengers from various places to the city airport using helicopters. BLADE India, through its leasing partners, will initially underwrite 50,000 hours of Eve’s eVTOL in the country.

Nil carbon emisssion

eVTOL aircraft is a variety of VTOL aircraft that uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically. eVTOLs are designed to pick up passengers from rooftops of their apartment blocks to ferry them across the city to their respective offices or entertainment centres. The speciality of these aircraft are that these have close to zero carbon emission. They are also cost effective, and economical, according to the Brazillian planemaker. 

Earlier this month, United Airlines too invested $15 million in Eve Air Mobility, a subsidiary of Embraer, and a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft along with 200 options.

André Stein, co-CEO of Eve, who was in India to meet officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) told businessline that he sees a great opportunity in India for this segment to flourish. “It’s a great pleasure, and we see great possibility to not only understand the problem and find a solution but to also build an ecosystem. We think India has a great potential.”

The Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia — back from his tour to the US and Canada — made a strong pitch to bring eVTOLs to India. He said he had asked the US-based start-up Beta Technologies to explore the Indian market to launch eVTOLs.

Green alternative

Speaking about the opportunity in India, Amit Dutta, Managing Director, BLADE India said that India’s traffic congestion woes are only expected to get worse, there is no option but to look at greener alternatives. “EVTOLs, come with much less noise, zero carbon footprint and are economical, and has the possibility to democratise short haul mobility. Keeping in mind of Make In India, we would look at the completion, assembly, of the aircraft in India while also setting up a service centrein the country. That would progressively keep going up in the next few years. Urban air mobility will need a bouquet of technologies like urban air traffic management and we are jointly going to develop those software.”

Globally, eVTOLs are likely to be launched by 2026. Scindia too has said that India should be in line with this timeline. Hence, when asked what India needs to do to achieve this goal Stein said, “India can support to create an ecosystem. We need a laboratory, physical infrastructure.” He further added that, Eve could look at creating a value chain in India. Datta said that the backend work has already begun in terms of the setting up of infrastructure, software and other test runs.