EHang’s long-range passenger-grade VT-30 eVTOL aircraft has made its global debut in an unveiling ceremony before the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition.
The VT-30, which was confirmed by the company in April 2021, is the first model in EHang’s aircraft portfolio designed for inter-city transportation. It complements EHang’s flagship 216 model, which only has a range of 35km and is targeted for intra-city air mobility.
The VT-30 can fly for 100 minutes and can transport two passengers a distance of 300km.
Edward Xu, Chief Strategy Officer of EHang said: “EHang will continue to innovate and improve the future Urban Air Mobility (“UAM”) ecosystem. The VT-30, which focuses on inter-city travel, will be a complement to the EHang 216, which focuses on intra-city air mobility, to bring safe, autonomous and eco-friendly air mobility for everyone.”
Revealing more details in a press release, the VT-30 has a streamlined fuselage with a combined lifting rudder surface at the tail. It is equipped with eight propellers on both sides, with a pair of fixed wings and a propelling propeller at the rear – to achieve a maximum balance of hybrid lift and push.
EHang has said the distinctive design enables the VT-30 to enjoy both vertical and taxi take-off / landing modes. Unlike conventional fixed-wing aircrafts, it saves the runway for take-off and landing and the tri-redundancy fly-by-wire control system can be flexibly altered into multiple modes – implying a much higher safety level for the aircraft.
The VT-30 is geared towards inter-city travels among city clusters, such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim.
The aircraft has already conducted vertical take-off and landing, power system and other tests. EHang has said it will continue to conduct various tests and optimisations under different environment conditions, while continuously improving autonomous air vehicle (AAV) safety and stability.
Its goal is to help accelerate long-distance AAVs to be used in various scenarios such as air commuting, aerial sightseeing, and aerial logistics.
Speaking earlier this year, Huazhi Hu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of EHang, said: “Our passenger-grade AAV EH216 is already fully equipped to travel in the cities with its lightweighted and streamlined structure, and the launch of the VT-30 provides a powerful complement to the inter-city air traffic network by meeting needs for covering longer distance.
“Moving forward, these two product series will be used as core development for a service-oriented operations strategy to improve the safety, durability and capacity for carrying both passengers and goods. We will work continuously to obtain regulatory certification for our various AAV products, including the VT-30, and provide a more convenient and efficient public urban air mobility operational services.”
During the 5th Central and Southern China General Aviation Development Forum, which took place earlier this week, Xu gave a keynote speech on the topic of ‘Driving UAM Innovative Transformation’.
He said urban air mobility (UAM) operations with fully autonomous flying technologies can improve flight safety and quality of service. Moving forward, EHang will continue to advance the 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative, accumulate data and experience for UAM operations, and promote the development of the UAM industry.
As a pioneer in the global UAM industry, EHang was also granted two honours during the forum – the Guangdong Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Industry Outstanding Contribution Award and the Guangdong UAV Social Responsibility Contribution Award.
The awards were presented by the Guangdong General Aviation Association and the Guangdong UAV Industry Association at the 2021 2nd General Aviation Night event. These accolades reflect the industry’s recognition of EHang’s active innovation in the exploration and development of general aviation.