The ePlane Company
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Founded in 2017 in India by Pranjal Mehta, CEO and Prof. Satya Chakravarthy, CTO, The ePlane company has a goal to create electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The company proposes that eVTOL aircraft travel 10 times faster than cars and the cost per passenger flight would be slightly higher than Uber taxi service.
The company has raised around $1 million USD through Speciale Invest, Java Capital, FirstCheque.vc and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s CIIE incubator. The ePlane Company intends to build a world-class engineering team, develop intellectual software & hardware for their aircraft and have subscale eVTOL flight demonstrations in 2021.
Chakravarthy has stated he got the idea to make eVTOL aircraft after seeing a Tony Seba (Entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is known for lecturing on the disruption on clean energy.) video on electric ground transportation and thought the same principles could be applied to aircraft.
The company's eVTOL air taxi has not yet been named but will hold two passengers, have an estimated cruise speed of 150-200 km/h (93-124 mph), a range of 200 km (124 m), a maximum payload of 200 kg (441 lb) and allow roof-top to roof-top Urban Air Mobility in any city. The aircraft will be piloted at first and when autonomous systems become commonplace and reliable, the company will be able to program the aircraft for autonomous flight.
The aircraft has ducted fans for VTOL flight and has a Delta-wing with winglets, to increase the range of the aircraft and to also allow runway takeoffs and landings, if necessary. The company has stated the noise level of their eVTOL air taxi will be much lower than a helicopter. The company also expects their aircraft to be used for air cargo, emergency services, blood transportation and for military use.
The company states that helicopters do provide fast travel in urban areas but are very expensive. The company foresees the price of their eVTOL air taxi to one and a half to two times less than the cost of a Uber taxi ride. They estimate the purchase cost of the aircraft itself, will be half of a helicopter and eventually less than half the cost of a helicopter.
The company is projecting to have several subscale prototypes flying by the summer of 2021. The ePlane Company has disclosed their near future goal is to have their air taxis in production and in service by 2025.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL air taxi and air cargo service
- Piloting: Piloted aircraft at the beginning, when autonomous technology becomes available, it will be an autonomous aircraft
- Capacity: 2 passengers
- Cruise speed: 150-200 km/h (93-124 mph)
- Range: 200 km (124 m)
- Cruise altitude: 457 meters (1,500 ft)
- Propellers: 4 ducted fans
- Electric Motors: Unknown
- Power source: Batteries
- Maximum payload: 200 kg (441 lb)
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Canopy type window over passenger compartment
- Wings: Delta shaped wing with winglets
- Landing gear: Retractable landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. If there is not enough power for a vertical landing, the aircraft can land like a plane.
- The ePlane Company website
- The ePlane Company Twitter
- The ePlane Company LinkedIn
- Article: Meet the Indian startup building an affordable electric ‘flying taxi’, Tech Circle, Feb. 10, 2021
- Article: Airborne: Reborn / Volume XXIII, Osinto, March 3, 2021
- Article: The ePlane Company raises $1 million to build a flying electric taxi, Economic Times, Mar. 3, 2021
- Article: Aerial mobility startup The ePlane Company raises $1M from Naval Ravikant, Speciale Invest, Your Story, Mar. 3, 2021