The Japanese personal eVTOL maker SkyDrive has selected Toray Carbon Magic to develop advanced carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for the structure of its SD-05 flying car.
SkyDrive’s SD-05 is a fully electric, two-seat flying car for which the start-up is seeking type certification. The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) approved the type certification basis for the SD-05 in May, and SkyDrive plans to have the SD-05 enter service in Japan’s Osaka Bay area by 2025.
According to SkyDrive, Toray’s advanced composite materials will help the eVTOL manufacturer make its flying car lighter, stronger, and more energy efficient. Toray has extensive experience providing carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for the automotive and aerospace industries. The companies have already begun conformity assessments to determine whether the new material will meet SkyDrive’s required specifications for the SD-05.
“Toray Carbon Magic’s advanced carbon fiber reinforced plastic is an essential element of our two-seater aircraft SD-05," SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in the July 18 announcement. "Starting with this material compatibility testing, we will continue to work closely together to promote the development of a light and strong ‘flying car’ airframe structure, with the aim of realizing an air mobility society.”
Founded in 2018, SkyDrive achieved the first test flights of its SD-03, single-seat flying car prototype in August 2020. That same month, the startup announced that it had raised ¥3.9 billion ($31 million) in a Series B funding round to support its development of flying cars and cargo drones. To date, the company has raised more than $50 million. In March 2022, the Japanese car maker Suzuki Motor Corporation joined the company’s efforts to develop the two-seat SD-05.
While the SD-05 is SkyDrive's first vehicle that will be evaluated for type certification, the company has said that its production model will be a new version of the aircraft known as SD-XX. Like the SD-05, the SD-XX will be a fully electric, two-seat personal eVTOL with eight propellers. SkyDrive says the SD-XX will have a maximum cruise speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and a flight time of 20 to 30 minutes and will fly at a maximum altitude of 500 meters (1,640 feet).