Japanese eVTOL developer SkyDrive continues to line up customers for its passenger aircraft by the same name after a busy summer of progress. Today, the company has announced its latest pre-order – this time from South Korea, for up to 50 SkyDrive eVTOLs.
SkyDrive Inc. has been on one helluva run this summer, peppering the public with updates to its progress in scaled eVTOL production as well as a growing line of customers awaiting their first passenger aircraft deliveries around the world.
After a recent redesign of its SKYDRIVE eVTOL earlier this year to transport more passengers, the company secured its first official pre-order in July, alongside news it will be setting up a US headquarters in South Carolina.
That initial order was only for five aircraft, but SkyDrive gave us an encore a day later when it locked in a pre-order for another 100 aircraft from CT UAV in Vietnam.
Today, the company it touting yet another large pre-order – this time from South Korea.
SkyDrive receives pre-order for 50 eVTOLs from Solyu
Earlier today, SkyDrive shared news of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Solyu Company, Ltd. – a Korean aircraft leasing company focused on zero-emissions mobility. The pre-order is for up to 50 SKYDRIVE aircraft.
Metropolitan areas of Korea are currently riddled with severe traffic congestion, so the government formed the Korea Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) Roadmap to reduced citizens’ travel times by 70% by implementing new technologies like eVTOLs. Per Solyu president Andrew Claerbout:
The eVTOL market will bring opportunities for reducing global emissions and increasing traveler convenience. We’re honored to work with SkyDrive and the award-winning SD-05 to develop this global market.
Looking ahead, SkyDrive says it will continue talks with Solyu to evaluate infrastructure to support future commercial eVTOL operations, such as vertiports, travels routes, and other ecosystems alongside the Korean government.
The SKYDRIVE aircraft will be built in Japan with the help of Suzuki.
US grid-scale energy storage installations soared in Q2 2023
The US battery energy storage market added 5,597 megawatt hours (MWh) in the second quarter of 2023, a new quarterly record.
The grid-scale segment of the industry drove the market with a record-breaking 5,109 MWh in Q2, beating the previous record in Q4 2021 by 5%, according to Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) latest US Energy Storage Monitor report.
The grid-scale segment achieved 172% growth quarter-over-quarter. California was No. 1 among states with the most grid-scale energy storage installations, with 738 MW and a 49% share of installed capacity.
Wood Mackenzie projects the grid-scale segment to be the main driver of the market in its five-year forecast from 2023-27, accounting for 83% of total installations, or 55 gigawatts (GW).
ACP’s VP of research and analytics, John Hensley, said:
The energy storage market is on pace for a record year, as utilities and larger power users increasingly turn to storage to enhance the grid and improve reliability.
The market is on pace to nearly double annual installations despite supply chain challenges and interconnection delays, and will continue to grow quickly in coming years.
Community, commercial, and industrial (CCI) installations, at 107 MWh, were higher than any quarter in 2022 but couldn’t keep pace with the huge spike in Q1 installations, resulting in a 53% quarterly decline. However, the segment is still up 25% year-over-year.
Residential storage saw its second-straight quarter of decline at 381.2 MWh, behind Q1’s 388.2 MWh. California saw the biggest decline, decreasing 17% quarter-over-quarter and 37% year-over-year.
Vanessa Witte, senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s energy storage team, said, “We still project strong growth for the residential segment in our five-year outlook, reaching a total of 8 GW in 2027. However, the CCI segment continues to fail to meet growth projections and we have downgraded its five-year growth forecast by 28% to 3 GW.”
On Friday, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $325 million for 15 projects across 17 states and one tribal nation to accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. The DOE has set a goal to reduce the cost of LDES by 90% by 2030.
Photo: Jupiter Power; Graphs: US Energy Storage Monitor Q3 2023 | American Clean Power Association, Wood Mackenzie
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Tesla releases update on Optimus robot with video looking like CGI
Tesla has released an update with progress on its Optimus humanoid robot with a video that almost looks like CGI.
Optimus, also known as Tesla Bot, has not been taken seriously by many outside of the more hardcore Tesla fans, and for good reasons.
When it was first announced, it seemed to be a half-baked idea from CEO Elon Musk with a dancer disguised as a robot for visual aid. It also didn’t help that the demo at Tesla AI Day last year was less than impressive.
At the time, Tesla had a very early prototype that didn’t look like much. It was barely able to walk around and wave at the crowd. That was about it.
But we did note that the project was gaining credibility with the latest update at Tesla’s 2023 shareholders meeting earlier this year.
At the time, Tesla showed several more prototypes that all looked more advanced and started to perform actually useful tasks.
Tesla has now released a new update on Optimus with a video showcasing the ability of the robot to sort objects autonomously:
Like the latest versions of Full Self-Driving, Tesla also notes that Optimus is now being trained with neural nets end-to-end.
The video shows that Tesla is again making progress with the Tesla bot, which looks more refined in this update. The mechanics look more stable with a prototype balancing on one foot.
The video even looks CGI at times, but everything points to Tesla actually having those working prototypes around its offices.
In a previous update on Optimus, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that the “Optimus stuff is extremely underrated.” The CEO said that the demand could be as high as 10 to 20 billion units.
He went as far as “confidently predicting” that Optimus will account for “a majority of Tesla’s long-term value.”
There’s no clear timeline for bringing the product to market, but Tesla is expected to first use it in its own operations.
Quick Charge Podcast: September 23, 2023
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