EHang confirms plans for long-range winged eVTOL aircraft and piloted version of its flagship EH216 model

EHang has con­firmed it is work­ing on a new long-range eVTOL air­craft — known as the VT series — which will sit along­side its flag­ship two-seater EH216 mul­ti­copter.

Trans­lat­ing for EHang founder, chair­man and CEO Hu Huazhi at the com­pa­ny’s Q4 and Full Earn­ings Call last week, Chief Strat­e­gy Offi­cer Edward Xu said tri­al flights of a pas­sen­ger-grade mod­el, called the VT30, will begin in north­west Chi­na ‘in the near future’.

This air­craft is a hybrid VTOL design con­fig­ured with both pure elec­tric mul­ti-rotor and a fixed wing. It weighs 700kg and will be able to trav­el more than 300km (185 miles), sup­ple­ment­ing inter­ci­ty UAM net­works. More details about the VT30’s spe­cif­ic shape, design and relat­ed tech­ni­cal para­me­ters will be pub­lished soon.

Xu also spoke about the VT10 and VT20 which are two small­er, mul­ti-pur­pose air­craft in the VT series. He said the VT20 is ‘a mature prod­uct’ and cur­rent­ly in small batch pro­duc­tion, offer­ing a flight time with pay­load of more than three hours and flight speed of between 30 and 100 km/h.

“It [VT20] is an indis­pen­si­ble prod­uct in the future UAM infra­struc­ture plan­ning process and can also be used for UAV appli­ca­tions in our Smart City com­mand and con­trol cen­ters,” he added.

Xu also addressed that some media out­lets pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed EHang is work­ing on a new prod­uct with a range of 400 metres, which he believes referred to the VT30. Pic­tures cir­cu­lat­ing at that time was actu­al­ly of its tran­si­tion prod­uct, the VT25, for its patent appli­ca­tion.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Xu also con­firmed dur­ing the call that EHang will release a man­u­al, pilot­ed ver­sion of the 216. Called the 216M, it will have a sim­i­lar con­trol sys­tem as a tra­di­tion­al heli­copter, but can be switched to autopi­lot mode with one click for all-round safe­ty pro­tec­tion.

The 216M is expect­ed to obtain a spe­cial air­wor­thi­ness cer­tifi­cate in the exper­i­men­tal cat­e­go­ry from the Civ­il Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion of Chi­na (CAAC) in May 2021. In the future, EHang plans to work with part­ners to estab­lish a flight expe­ri­ence park with a UAS fence.

In the past four years, EHang has com­plet­ed more than 10,000 flights of its 216 eVTOL. While Xu could­n’t con­firm exact­ly when the com­pa­ny would achieve cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, he said he hopes it can ‘achieve mean­ing­ful progress in 2021 towards the final stages’.

In terms of goals for year, EHang plans to pro­duce 250 units of its EH216 mod­el — which would be a record num­ber for the com­pa­ny. It also plans to launch a ‘100 Air Mobil­i­ty Routes’ ini­tia­tive to sup­port tri­al flights across Chi­na.

“By accu­mu­lat­ing more oper­at­ing data and expe­ri­ences, we will be more pre­pared to launch large-scale com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion activ­i­ties”, Wu added.

Mean­while, EHang has also con­firmed it has estab­lished a type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion team for its 216 mod­el. The com­pa­ny offi­cial­ly sub­mit­ted the type cer­tifi­cate appli­ca­tion to CAAC in Decem­ber 2020, which was accept­ed by CAAC in Jan­u­ary 2021.

More details about EHang’s Q4 results can be found here.

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Jason Pritchard

Jason Pritchard is the Editor of eVTOL Insights. He holds a BA from Leicester's De Montfort University and has worked in Journalism and Public Relations for more than a decade. Outside of work, Jason enjoys playing and watching football and golf. He also has a keen interest in Ancient Egypt.

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