Long-range hydrogen aero taxi startup will not enter the market soonJuly 13, 2020
After the first rash promises to become the first electric air taxi network in the world, Alakai admitted that it got a little excited. It is unlikely that she will be able to issue and certify an eVTOL ready for transportation of passengers ahead of competitors. However, Alakai still has a trump card – hydrogen fuel.
Last year, Alakai made a number of high-profile announcements, promising to democratize air transport without waiting for a breakthrough in lithium battery technology. Firstly, the company announced the development of the first hydrogen fuel cell air taxi – with a full tank, the Skai can fly for four hours, and the travel range is almost 650 km. Secondly, it was planned not only to produce multicopters and sell them to existing carriers such as Uber – the company intended to be the first to create its own network of urban air transport, which would be cheaper than flying by helicopter and faster than by car.
However, exactly one year later, Alakai marketing director Bruce Gunter speaks out with more caution.
“I think that the statements made earlier were perhaps too ambitious, made in a state of mental recovery,” he explained. – That’s what happens when you try to go beyond the existing framework. We work diligently to achieve the goal. “
Now the company’s engineers are still assembling a prototype to prove that a hydrogen apparatus weighing 1300 – 1800 kg can indeed become a cost-effective vehicle. The first version of the device is preparing for the first tests on a leash, coming to the completion of work on the second model. So far, all tests have been unmanned, according to New Atlas.
The terms of the first manned tests were postponed to 2021, but the head of the company, Steve Hanway, does not exclude that it will take more time to go to this stage. Regarding certification, the company has been in the process of processing documents with the United States Civil Aviation Administration (FAA) for two years now, which usually takes five years.
At the same time, competitors also do not stand still – Volocopter planned to launch an air taxi service by 2024, and Lilium intended to begin transporting passengers already in 2025. It does not seem that Alakai will be able to break ahead and become the first in the market. However, Skai hydrogen fuel is still a significant advantage for the company.
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