A full-size model of Volocopter’s 2X eVTOL air taxi will go on display in China for the first time this week, as the German startup works with Geely Technology Group to help bring urban air mobility services to the country’s cities.
The 2X will be at Geely’s booth at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, which is taking place from April 21st to 28th. Also known as Auto Shanghai – the event is one of the world’s biggest automobile fairs and visitors attending will have the chance to learn more about this new form of transport.
Volocopter and Geely entered into a joint venture in 2019, after Geely Holding Group led a Series C Funding Round which raised €50 million. Since then, Volocopter has been using its expertise to identify where eVTOL air taxi services could be introduced in the country.
Florian Reuter, CEO Volocopter, said: “Geely’s market leadership in China and forward-thinking approach to expanding mobility options make them a great strategic investor. They are an invaluable partner for bringing urban air mobility to China – one of the most promising markets for the UAM industry globally.”
Volocopter’s 2X is known for its safety and exceptionally low noise emission. The aircraft has nine exchangeable batteries powering 18 rotors and the design gives the system a remarkably high redundancy, ensuring that even if one or several rotors fail, the aircraft can land safely.
In 2019, Volocopter 2X successfully flew over Singapore’s Marina Bay and showed that piloted electric air taxi integration in air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) was possible.
The two-seater model, which has previously flown several test campaigns, represents the electric air taxi vision Volocopter and Geely Technology Group aim to introduce in China.
For future services, Volocopter will use its fifth-generation aircraft, the VoloCity, which is currently in the certification process with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It will have an increased speed of 110 km/h and longer flight duration of 35 minutes – after accounting for reserve battery and headwind.
Charlie Jing, CEO of Aerofugia, a subsidiary of Geely Technology Group, said: Volocopter is the pioneer and leader of safe, sustainable, and practical eVTOL solutions for air taxi services in cities around the world. Together, we will have both the technology and means of production to launch urban air mobility ecosystems in Chinese cities.”
Geely Technology Group is an innovation-driven group, focusing on corporate investment and operation. As a corporate investor and operator in MaaS technology sector, the Group has built a diversified ‘6+X’ business portfolio. ‘6’ refers to the Group’s major business unit which covers Light-weight Material Technology, Battery Swapping Ecosystem, Energy Technology, General Aviation, Commercial Aerospace, and Motorcycles.
It has made significant investment in general aviation with Aerofugia being the key platform to carry out related businesses. As a leading solution provider and operator with strong engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities, Aerofugia has earned its reputation and name in the high-tech general aviation industry.
Volocopter has already signalled its intention to launch eVTOL aircraft services in Asia as early as 2023, when it confirmed Singapore would be one of its first locations in an announcement last year
Additionally, the German startup raised €200 million in Series D Funding at the start of this year and is pushing ahead with concurrent certification of its VoloCity with both the FAA and EASA, which would bring its air taxi services to the USA.