Gurugram-based firm Blade orders 200 electric air taxis to be deployed in five years

The first stage will see deployment of the vertical takeoff eVTOLs, which will be handled by pilots, but they will be replaced by autonomous air taxis in the second phase.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 07:48 PM IST
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The Eve eVTOL is backed by Embraer and United Airlines, and can currently carry four passengers. | Eve Air Mobility

Traffic snarls in Mumbai and Bengaluru often make people wish for affordable helicopter services to reach work on time during rush hours. Visions of futuristic smart cities have always included the promise of flying cabs gliding around skyscrapers. But this idea right out of a sci-fi movie is about to become a reality, as startup Blade India has placed an order for 200 electric aircraft from Brazil-based Eve Holding Inc.

Take a look at the specs

The Gurugram-based arm of New York’s Blade Air Mobility, will be deploying air taxis, which take off vertically and are powered by electricity. The aerial vehicle called eVTOL has the capacity to carry four passengers and a range of 100 kilometres. Each of them will weigh about 3 tons, which is equivalent to the take off weight of a chopper.

Autonomous air cabs will follow

Its developer Eve Holdings is owned by Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, and has tied up with Blade to launch air cabs in India in five years. Air cabs will be launched in India in a phased manner, with the first fleet of eVTOLs being handled by a pilot. After this, the second stage will include the launch of six seater air cabs, which will be autonomous. The first batch of 200 eVTOL aircraft ordered by Blade India is priced at $3 million each, and will fly for 1000 kilometres every year.

About 300 of these aircraft can be accommodated only in Bengaluru to carry passengers between the city and its airport. The 40 kilometre distance currently takes as much as 2.5 hours depending on traffic conditions.

Rapidly elevating urban mobility to the skies

So far Blade has provided access to helicopter services between Mumbai, Pune and Shirdi, for which people can book a seat for less than Rs 10,000. This year, Blade’s New York-based parent delivered far more sales than predicted, thanks to high demand for helicopter, private jet and seaplane services.

The air mobility sector is expected to take off towards a flying start, as Dubai is set to deploy eVTOL taxis for Atlantis at the Palm. US-based United Airlines is also investing $15 million in the development of electric air taxis through Eve Air Mobility.

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