Designed to look as sleek and accessible as an electric car, Xpeng’s X2 eVTOL prototype recently conducted a demonstration flight in Dubai at the SkyDive Dubai event, attended by representatives from the Chinese Consulate in Dubai, the Dubai International Chamber of Commerce, and the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism. 

XPeng is a well-known and thoroughly established electric car maker in China, bringing in over $4B in revenue per year. For a few years now, XPeng has made clear its goal of expanding into air mobility, with the XPeng X2 (featured above) as one if its key products in development.

The XPeng X2 will be optionally-piloted, with semi-autonomous and eventually fully autonomous capabilities. With room for two passengers, the all-electric aircraft will be able to travel at speeds up to 80mph.

The demonstration flight in Dubai of the X2 was one of the aircraft’s first publicized flights. Although the aircraft was unpiloted in the air, attendees were able to sit inside the functioning aircraft while on the ground to get a sense of the passenger experience. Said Acting President and CEO Hassan Al Hashemi of The Dubai Chamber, which was involved in the planning of the event: “The first global public flight of the X2 flying car will change the game of future mobility. The flying car is the epitome of ambition, innovation and future-oriented vision that has always inspired Dubai and its leadership.”

According to XPeng’s chief Aviation Specialist Liu Xinyin, regulations should allow these kinds air vehicles to be used within limited regulated spaces in China within five years, in accordance with the Chinese government’s current goals. XPeng’s intention is to collaborate with governments in establishing physical and regulatory infrastructure for flight in urban areas.

Furthermore, XPeng plans on creating several kinds of products to expand into the aerial mobility space. Most recently, the company announced development of a propeller-lift add-on for its electric cars:

According to XPeng, this product will be a set of propellers that can fold into a box that will sit on top of electric cars. The vision is that at the push of a button, drivers will be able to unfold these rotors to allow the ground vehicle to transition to vertical flight. The company has already begun to create patents for these folding rotors. Learn more here.

Why it’s important: With competitors like EHang also targeting the aerial mobility space in China and Asia, Xpeng has affirmed solid progress of its eVTOL air vehicle with this demonstration flight. However, the aerial mobility efforts of XPeng also show a bigger picture – that the company is making moves to become a universal mobility provider for both ground and air based mobility. With the company already publicly traded, and already receiving immense success in its electric car business, it is well set up with funds and influence to develop and bring to commercialization many new kinds of aerial mobility products.

Sources // CNN, XPeng, DesignBoom


Posted by Benji