Reliance increased investment in US-based SkyTran


Reliance Industries, owned by Mukesh Ambani, has been growing across industries by increasing investments in retail. It has also been approved to launch satellites that will beam internet. The company has moved its attention over the last ten years to the telecom industry to create Jio, India’s leading mobile service provider. However, Reliance is also renowned for acquiring businesses abroad.

Recently a wholly owned unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL), stated on October 28 that it had acquired a larger share in SkyTran Inc, a US-based pod transportation company. It was formed under Delaware law in the US, which developed revolutionary selective magnetic levitation and propulsion technologies in 2011.

Reliance has also bought a majority share in SenseHawk, a firm that creates software-based management tools for the solar power industry, as part of its push toward going green. The use of technology supports businesses from the planning stage through manufacturing.

Why SkyTrans?

“We are adamant that the deployment of non-polluting high-speed personal fast transportation systems will contribute to environmental sustainability by facilitating the effective use of alternative energy sources and significantly reducing noise and air pollution,” said Ambani.

SkyTran offers pod-based direct personal travel for customers, which suggests that Reliance intends to introduce eco-friendly mobility to Indian cities to combat traffic congestion. Since the oil and retail conglomerate started to turn toward the future in 2018, Reliance Industries has invested in the business. Before this, Reliance invested in Caelux, a US-based company that promotes green energy by using perovskite cells to produce solar electricity.

More about the Pod cars

According to reports, each cable car has a capacity of six passengers per trip. The business has emphasised that because none of its lines conflicts with one another, the networks can have extremely high capacity. The pods travel over pre-fabricated tracks on an air cushion.

These might work in urban areas with room for experimentation, but it is unclear whether they will work on Indian roads. When NITI Aayog approved the Centre’s proposal to test three fast transportation systems, including pod taxis, the idea of a pod taxi first came to India’s attention in 2017. However, there hasn’t been any news about prototype development since then.

All of this, however, seems to fit in well with RIL’s strategy to take the lead in India’s market for electric vehicles. Reliance BP Mobility Ltd (RBML), in partnership with BP Plc of the UK, reportedly plans to install battery switching facilities at each fuel store to expand the current fuel retail network.

The stock transaction

On a fully diluted basis, the investment purchased for $15 million (Rs 123.4 crore) brings Reliance Strategy And business Partners’ total stake to 62.83 per cent. The Reliance company invested $26.76 million in skyTran in February 2021 to raise its ownership interest from 26.3 per cent to 54.46 per cent. Reliance Industries stock rose 3.1% from the previous close to close on Friday, closing at 2,526.15 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.