Photo Credit: GGD News x SinoJet x Geely
In China’s major cities, flying cars will soon be just another part of busy traffic. SinoJet (a Chinese airline company) recently made a deal with Aerofugia, a flying car manufacturer to purchase 100 vehicles for its impending air taxi service. The fleet will be made up of AE200 X0l aircraft; a model that’s electric powered and can also travel easily on the road. The AE200 X01 does not need a runway for take off or landing. The flying car can travel 300 kilometers in the air on a single charge; and operates much like a helicopter when ascending or descending. Using ‘vertical take-off and landing’ or what the air mobility market refers to as VTOL, the flying cars will be able to help passengers skip traffic jams and reach important, time-sensitive destinations like airports faster.
Since 2020, the Chinese government has been easing regulations on civilian airspace and encouraging technical advancements so that flying cars will be more common nationwide. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) unveiled plans to allow air taxis to fly over streets within short distances by 2025, middle distances by 2030 and long distances by 2035. Aerofugia is the flying car subsidiary of Geely, a Chinese automobile company. Before making the deal with SinoJet for its air taxis, Geely partnered with Volocopter, a German electric aerial taxi manufacturer to develop the flying cars. The AE200 X01 aircraft officially completed its first successful test flight earlier this January.
EHang is another air taxi developer based in China. Its own aircraft has already completed at least 34,000 test flights in different parts of the world. Meanwhile, the XPeng X2, an electric flying car created by XPENG AEROHT (a division of Chinese EV maker, XPeng Inc.) flew for 90 minutes in Dubai last year, as part of a public test flight.
Photo Credit: Zapata
Many other flying car startups are racing to get ahead. In Japan, SkyDrive is aiming to complete a maiden commercial flight by 2025, as part of the World Expo in Osaka. The company plans to launch their fleet of flying cars in India first by 2027. In the United States, Zapata’s JetRacer is a flying car model that functions more for recreational purposes. Zapata announced test flights for this year; but the company ultimately plans to open flight centers so people can rent the JetRacer much like a Jet Ski or regular car. No matter which country or company, pricing is a key detail that still has to be worked out. Taking off and landing from the top of office buildings or places like university campuses will definitely be more expensive. And of course, more exciting.