The First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Flying Taxi Is Unveiled In Los Angeles

Skai presented himself to his potential investors, Alaka’i’s futuristic flying taxi prototype. But for the actual on-air demonstration we will have to wait.

The hydrogen-powered flying vehicle promises zero-emission long trips.

It is not entirely convincing, but it certainly fascinates. Skai, the hydrogen-powered flying vehicle from startup Alaka’i Technologies, has succeeded in its main goal, which is to attract attention and get people talking about it.

The futuristic flying taxi was unveiled to investors and the press in Newbury Park, a northern suburb of Los Angeles. There are no test flights, just a show outside the BMW Group Designworks studio to present the prototype in full size and detail its future performance.

At a time when the flying taxi concept seems overwhelming in the plans of car companies and transportation companies, Skai tries to differentiate itself by focusing on propulsion.

The model, a multi-engine system, is the first of its kind to be equipped with a fuel cell. It takes less than 10 minutes to fill the tank and the technology should allow the vehicle to fly up to four hours in a radius of 643 km.

Roughly the size of a people carrier, the aircraft is designed to carry up to five people or a maximum payload of 453 kg. Six horizontal rotors created with the help of BMW Designworks and attached to external arms complete the design and give it a decidedly futuristic air.

But you will have to wait to see it in the air. There are already plans for remote-controlled test flights at MIT, but the company must first get the go-ahead at the regulatory level.

Alaka’i CEO Steve Hanvey is convinced that the company can gain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of next year and that it can bring the new hydrogen-powered flying vehicle to market in early 2021.

In the long term, its goal is to produce more than 10,000 aircraft a year, at a cost that ” would approach the price of a luxury car ,” Hanvey said. Models for sale should have three basic configurations: for passenger transport, for emergency medical transport and for goods delivery. However, there is a great challenge to solve for the passenger option: the pricing infrastructure. According to the same CEO, it could be a decade or more before a flying taxi can be hailed in a city.

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