He Xiaopeng, the founder of Chinese EV maker XPeng, recently stepped down as chairman of XPeng Aeroht, an affiliate of XPeng and a flying car company, according to Tianyancha, a business information query platform.
XPeng Aeroht’s founder Zhao Deli has now changed his roles from director and general manager to executive director and manager while the company’s registered capital increased from $250 million to $320 million. At present, the company’s official website still shows He Xiaopeng is the chairman.
XPeng Aeroht integrates intelligent vehicles and modern aviation, and is committed to creating safe intelligent electric flying vehicles for individual users. In the future, it will provide products and solutions in the field of 3D transportation.
He Xiaopeng has high hopes for XPeng Aeroht. He wrote on social media in August that Ferrari, as a company and a product, is a model for XPeng Aeroht, which is to create a new category of a high profit, high-flying vehicle for high-end consumers around the world.
In October 2021, XPeng Aeroht released the sixth generation of its flying car concept model, which should see mass production in 2024 with a sales price of about 1 million yuan. In July this year, its fifth generation flying car X2 was unveiled. The 560-kilogram carbon-fiber aircraft can carry two passengers for up to 35 minutes and reach a maximum altitude of 1,000 meters. The company said earlier this month that its X2 will be transported to Dubai to carry out compliance verification test flights.
Flying cars are often considered to have a natural connection with cars. He Xiaopeng has previously said that only car companies can make flying cars. Among car companies, Toyota, Audi, Daimler, Porsche, General Motors and Hyundai have all entered in the field of flying cars. In China, XPeng and Geely are the two giants in the field.
Compared with XPeng Aeroht, Geely has invested in a number of related enterprises. In 2017, Geely acquired US flying car startup Terrafugia, which was founded in 2006 by several graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2019, Geely and Daimler jointly contributed €50 million to participate in the series C financing of German flying car company Volocopter.
In 2020, Geely took over the unmanned aerial vehicle company Aossci Technology. At the same time, Hubei Geely Taili Flying Car Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Geely, and Aossci Technology jointly established a joint venture. In August this year, the JV launched TF-2, a pure electric five-seat flying car. According to Geely, the flying car can cover urban areas at the operating cost of one-fourth to one-sixth of a helicopter, and its first flight is expected by the end of 2022.
Chinese automaker GAC Group’s research institute is offering positions for aircraft structural design engineers and aircraft measurement and control engineers, which is seen as a signal of the company’s interest in flying cars.
SEE ALSO: GAC Group Enters Flying Car Sector
The development of flying cars seems to be taking off as many companies are now entering the market, but the controversy over this new type of vehicle persists. Tesla founder Elon Musk has spoken out against flying cars as a noisy and dangerous form of travel, calling them “drones 1,000 times bigger and noisier.”
Investment institution CICC said in its research that flying cars face technological and social obstacles, and commercialization is still some way off. In addition to the most important safety factors, flying cars will need significantly higher battery energy density to support vertical takeoff and landing and reduce noise. At the same time, airspace management, flight monitoring and other regulatory factors are the other main challenges facing the implementation of flying cars.