XPeng gets conditional flight permit to launch eVTOL X2
XPeng’s flying car subsidiary XPeng Aeroht has received a conditional flight permit from the authorities in China. The company says its Aeroht X2 has thus become the first crewed eVTOL to obtain such a permit in China.
YPeng launched the electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle for the first time last year in Dubai, with sales of the Aeroht X2 to start in 2024.
The conditional flight permit, now issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s Central and Southern Regional Administration, allows the X2 to fly under licensed conditions with a flight certificate. The company does not mention the exact requirements but says it will continue to launch crewed test flights; there is also an autonomous flight mode.
These test flights will likely happen at the company’s eVTOL facility in the Panyu district, Guangzhou. The 35,000-square-meter space has a floor area of 20,000 sqm and includes two pilot production workshops, a power test centre and a flying car test centre.
It will be used mainly for pre-production, process validation and performance testing of flying cars before mass production. It will also support pre-production research and testing of other projects, so XPeng.
The company first revealed plans to launch a flying car in September 2021, then still under the Xpeng Heitech brand, with the eVTOL flying under project name Voyager X2.
Since last year, XPeng Aeroht has taken over operations. The Chinese company specifically markets the X2 as a private vehicle and not as part of a ride-hailing or air taxi service or primarily a passenger drone, as is the case with most competitors. A recent exception is the US startup Aska, which reportedly landed a prototype at CES. The Aska A5 is an electric VTOL with a significant range while capable of driving on the ground.
But back to XPeng. Earliest announcements saw the company target a range of up to 600 kilometres on the road. Data for the range in flight mode were still missing. However, the website now lists a maximum flight speed of 130 kph and an “endurance” or flight time of 35 minutes in the air.
Being made of carbon fibre, the eVTOL will weigh less than 600 kilograms with batteries and offers a maximum take-off weight of 760 kg, enough for two passengers, so XPeng.
Apart from private operations – which may be few since China has strict regulations – XPeng also lists low-altitude city flights, sightseeing and medical transportation as future use cases.
The targeted sales launch in 2024 remains unchanged, and XPeng aims for prices around $150,000.