EHang Holdings’ EH216 eVTOL has successfully completed a demo flight tour across four cities in Japan and expanded its footprint for the first time into the Kansai, Kyushu and Shikoku regions after demo flights in Okayama and Fukushima cities last year.

Marking the 1,000-day countdown to the opening of the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, these recent unmanned demo flights included flights over the sea, believed to be the firsts for an eVTOL vehicle in Japan.

The EH216 flight tour explored urban air mobility (UAM) cases such as aerial sightseeing over the sea, air mobility, and smart logistics with the support of EHang’s local partners, including Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (MASC).

In early July, EH216 performed Japan’s first eVTOL demo flight over the sea for aerial sightseeing in Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture, later completing Japan’s first eVTOL point-to-point demo flight for air mobility in Oita City in Oita Prefecture.

Last week, EH216 conducted a demo flight carrying 80 kilograms of cargo for logistics transportation in Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture. Other than flight demos, EH216 has also been exhibited in downtown Oita to further expand public cognition and interest in UAM for its future operations in Japan.

The Expo 2025 Osaka plans to use eVTOL vehicles for visitor transportation at the Expo, successfully completing a demo flight in Amagasaki City in Hyogo Prefecture, witnessed by local government officials and the Consulate-General of China in Osaka.

MASC chairman Hiroshi Kirino said: “We are very pleased that we were able to conduct demo flights in the cities of Amagasaki, Fukuyama, Sakaide, and Oita, which are located along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, and witnessed by local residents who were eager to experience the technology.

“MASC will continue to develop cases for flying vehicles in logistics, tourism, emergency transportation, and disaster response, and will continue to take on the challenges of airborne business, including takeoff and landing sites.”

EHang founder, chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi noted: “The EH216 demo flight tour has set our footprint in up to six cities across Japan, and we expect to provide EH216 flights for Expo 2025.”

In October 2021, Volocopter joined the Osaka Roundtable to bring urban air mobility to Japan, and committed to fly during the Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, joining other companies which are part of the round table, including Japan’s SkyDrive, and together with its long-term partner and investor Japan Airlines (JAL).

Last month, EHang announced a strategic partnership with the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) that includes credit facilities of RMB1 billion, equivalent to around $150 million.