Sat, June 15, 2024

China’s Xpeng AeroHT Aims to Deliver Flying Cars by 2026

Electric Car, Software, automobiles, automakers, bugs, xpeng

 Quick Look:

  • Xpeng AeroHT aims to deliver its first flying car by 2026, targeting the eVTOL market.
  • The car is under certification in China and will soon be available for pre-order.
  • The expected price is 1 million yuan, with plans for mass production to reduce costs.

Xpeng AeroHT has announced its intention to deliver its first flying car to customers by 2026. The announcement marks a significant step forward in the rapidly evolving electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle market. This comes a year after Xpeng AeroHT introduced the innovative Land Aircraft Carrier. It is a truck equipped with a detachable flying two-seater passenger electric drone.

Currently undergoing certification with the Chinese aviation regulator, the flying car will soon be available for pre-order. Gu revealed that the vehicle’s initial use aims to the outskirts in scenic areas. Meanwhile, the plans are underway to establish flying parks and designated flying zones. These areas allow users to enjoy the experience without complex approvals. However, they will require a special license for urban use.

Xpeng Adjusts Flying Car Delivery to 2026, Pre-Orders Soon

Originally slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2025, the delivery timeline was adjusted to 2026. Despite this delay, Xpeng AeroHT remains optimistic about its prospects, particularly with plans to commercialise eVTOL vehicles that can fly on land. The Civil Aviation Administration of China has already begun the type certification review for the aircraft. Moreover, China expects to commence pre-orders as early as October, aiming for mass production next year.

The anticipated price of around 1 million yuan ($138,000) reflects the cutting-edge nature of the technology, although Xpeng AeroHT hopes to reduce costs significantly through large-scale mass production. Qiu Mingquan, an executive at Xpeng, expressed confidence that the cost-reduction strategy, emphasising mass production, could dramatically lower costs.

Flying Car to Cost 1 Million Yuan, Mass Production Key

Expanding its reach beyond China, Xpeng AeroHT has identified the Middle East as a key market due to its regulatory environment and openness to innovative technologies. Qiu highlighted the significance of this region, noting its regulatory environment, openness to new technologies, and cost considerations. Tianxing, another executive, confirmed that the company has received inquiries from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, demonstrating global interest in eVTOL technology.

Xpeng AeroHT is not alone in this burgeoning market. EHang, another major player, obtained type certification for its EH216-S model in October. The EH216-S, which can fly for 25 minutes on a single charge, went on sale on April 1st for 2.39 million yuan in China and $410,000 in other markets. China is ready to lead this transformative industry, holding 50% of the world’s total eVTOL models.

Xpeng Eyes Middle East Market for eVTOL Expansion

Chinese battery manufacturers also contribute to this revolution by developing high-energy-density batteries essential for eVTOL vehicles. The Guangzhou Automobile Group is developing the GOVE eVTOL vehicle, with test flights planned for next year. Meanwhile, Geely subsidiary Aerofugia is working on an eVTOL aircraft capable of seating six people and flying long distances.

The Chinese Communist Party has identified the low-altitude economy and biotech and space industries as sectors for substantial growth, with local governments in Shenzhen and Guangzhou supporting eVTOL companies. However, several hurdles remain before eVTOL vehicles can become a common sight. These include the need for more takeoff and landing points and the development of traffic rules for this new mode of transport.

High-Energy Batteries by Chinese Firms Boost eVTOL Growth

Despite the promising advancements, challenges persist. EHang reported a net loss of 300 million yuan last year, and US short-seller Hindenburg Research has raised questions regarding EHang’s type certification and preorder figures. Nonetheless, the global eVTOL market is projected to reach $23.4 billion by 2030. This surge is driven by innovations from companies like Xpeng and EHang and interest from international players such as US startup Joby Aviation, which applied for certification in the US, UK, and Japan.

The future of flying cars draws closer as innovators make significant strides towards turning this futuristic vision into reality. As Xpeng AeroHT and its competitors navigate the complexities of this emerging market, the world watches with anticipation for the day when taking to the skies in a personal flying vehicle becomes a part of everyday life.

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