China's New eVTOL Can Also Double as a Luxury Car

And it could hit the market in 2024.
Ameya Paleja
A screen grab of the demo videoXpeng Xpev/YouTube

As we bring you news from the world of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles, it is hard to believe that China is still not innovating in this space. Now, a recently released video shows the way one carmaker is approaching this concept — by making a car that not only flies but also plies on the road. 

The video comes from HT Aero, an affiliate of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, Xpeng. According to its website, HT Aero has been working on VTOLs for a while and has some nifty prototypes to show off. The kinds that make our Ikea-catalog VTOL, look like a distant poor cousin. Of special mention is the Traveler X2, a two-seater VTOL that borrows some controls from aircraft but has polished and sleek interiors with a fully digital interface. 

Under the leadership of He Xiaopeng, the EV carmaker wants to bring the "safest smart electric flying car" that can solve problems of urban traffic but also serve as emergency rescue and police patrol vehicles, apart from serving the tourism industry. Unveiled on its Tech Day this year, its flying car concept looks like this. 

Unlike its other VTOL concept, the flying car is nothing like its prototype, and from the video, it appears that there is very little groundwork put into this concept, apart from the computer-generated imagery (CGI) we have seen. 

The striking feature, however, is the rotor assembly, neatly tucked beneath the gull-wing doors. It is definitely much easier to do this in CGI than on the shopfloor and therefore. So, there was hardly any surprise when HT Aero saying that the final design may differ from what has been shown in the video.

There are also other questions with regards to how a battery pack will generate the necessary lift for a vehicle that is carrying mechanisms for two modes of transport, and even if it did, how long would the flight be. It is probably safe to assume that when CNBC reports that the vehicle will have a lightweight design, it is unlikely to be the swanky-looking car shown in the video or might seriously compromise on the safety aspects when the vehicle plies on the road. However, the vehicle will have the ultimate safety needed when flying, a parachute. 

We will bring you more updates on this interesting concept in the future. 

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