On October 19, Xiaopeng Huitian announced that it has raised over US$500 million in Series A financing, with a pre-investment valuation of more than US$1 billion. This round of financing was led by IDG Capital, Wuyuan Capital and Xiaopeng Auto, followed by well-known institutions such as Sequoia China, Zhongding Capital, GGV Jiyuan Capital, Hillhouse Ventures, and Yunfeng Fund. Public information shows that this is by far the largest single financing obtained by an enterprise in the field of low-altitude manned aircraft in Asia.
Xpeng Heitech is a flying car startup subsidiary of electric vehicle maker Xpeng, and now employs approximately 400 people with plans to expand its workforce to 700 by the end of this year, according to the company’s founder Deli Zhao Deli.
Zhao also recently claimed that Xpeng Heitech’s new model will be able to drive on current road infrastructure, and will have a driving range of over 600 kilometers (370 miles) with single charge. However, the vehicle’s range in the flight configuration has not yet been published. Other key features enabling its dual-capabilities include a lightweight design and a rotor that folds away when on the ground. The vehicle will also have a number of safety features including parachutes.
“The Series A financing will provide us with sufficient resources to advance our research and development, acquire top-tier talent, and to continue to gain airworthiness provision and certification,” said Mr. Deli Zhao, Founder and President of HT Aero. “Our next-generation model will be a fully integrated flying vehicle and automobile, designed for both low-altitude air travel and road driving. We are planning for an official roll-out in 2024,” Mr. Zhao added.
Why it’s important: Xiaopeng Huitian is a participant in the formulation of China’s new aircraft design regulations. It has already flew more than 15,000 safe manned flights and won the highest industrial design award “German Red Dot Award”, German IF Award, American IDEA Design Award, etc. The milestones that the XPeng-backed startup has already achieved demonstrate that there is high likelihood of meeting its 2024 delivery goal, so long as the establishment of regulations can match the flying car’s development and manufacturing rate.