Indian startup The ePlane to develop electric air taxi prototype by March 2025

PTI | New Delhi: Chennai-based startup The ePlane Company expects to develop a certifiable prototype of a flying electric taxi by March next year as it works on ways to alleviate urban congestion. Incubated out of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, the company also aims to initially commercialise its drones that can carry a payload of 2-6 kilograms in the coming months, according to a senior executive.

The ePlane Company’s Founder and CEO Satya Chakravarthy said it is developing an eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft and to begin with, it will be a three or four-seater plane which can be converted into an air ambulance.

“By March next year is when we expect to develop the first certifiable prototype. It will take another couple of years to get the certification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” Chakravarthy told PTI.

As per the startup’s website, an ePlane will take only 14 minutes to reach a place that will take 60 minutes by a personal vehicle. The company’s vision is to alleviate congestion in urban spaces with eVTOLs.

Besides, The ePlane company is developing drones, which are expected to be commercialsed in the coming months.

Initially, it plans to come out a basic category and then an enhanced category of drones.

Chakravarthy said that both sets of drones — 2-6 kg payload and up to 50 kg payload — will be able to fly up 40-60 kilometres.

Meanwhile, InterGlobe Enterprises and US-based Archer Aviation plan to launch an all-electric air taxi service in India in 2026, that will carry passengers from Connaught Place in the national capital to Gurugram in Haryana in just 7 minutes.

InterGlobe Enterprises is the parent of the country’s largest airline IndiGo.

Archer Aviation will supply 200 eVTOL aircraft that can carry four passengers besides a pilot.

The European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has prepared rules for eVTOL aircraft.

“These electric air taxis offer faster intra-city travel without extensive ground infrastructure, potentially reducing congestion, noise, and emissions.

“Challenges such as safety concerns, regulatory difficulties and integration with existing transport systems need further addressing and exploration. Despite these challenges, eVTOLs could become a regular sight in urban skies within the next 5 to 10 years, contingent upon resolving safety issues and regulatory complexities,” according to the EASA website.