Volocopter, Geely display the 2X electric air taxi in Shanghai – UAM service to be rolled out in China soon

It seems so sci-fi, and many will be laugh it off as a flight of fancy, but flying taxis a.k.a. the flying car will soon be a real thing, judging by the urban air mobility (UAM) sector’s progress.

Volocopter is one of the players, and the German company has Geely as an investor. And that’s why Volocopter’s electric air taxi, the 2X, was on display at the carmaker’s Auto Shanghai 2021 booth. The companies are highlighting their cooperation and aim to introduce urban air mobility to the Chinese market – the full-size 2X’s presence was to give visitors the chance to learn more about this new form of transport.

UAM is an emerging part of the aviation industry focused on aerial connectivity in and around cities. Volocopter calls itself a pioneer of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi technology, and has paved the way for creating the ecosystem needed to provide electric air taxi services within cities. Together with Geely Technology Group, Volocopter is starting the process of introducing these services in China and creating a scalable model for production and operations.

Since the announcement of Geely’s strategic investment in Volocopter in 2019 (it raised RM247.3 million then, the bulk of which came from Geely), the companies have been using their combined expertise in mobility to identify where electric air taxis services could be best introduced in China.

“Geely’s market leadership in China and forward-thinking approach to expanding mobility options make them a great strategic investor. They are an invaluable partner for bringing urban air mobility to China – one of the most promising markets for the UAM industry globally,” said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter.

Volocopter and Geely Technology Group have agreed to enter a joint venture to make UAM services in China a reality and have already applied for a business license. “Volocopter is the pioneer and leader of safe, sustainable, and practical eVTOL solutions for air taxi services in cities around the world. Together, we will have both the technology and means of production to launch urban air mobility ecosystems in Chinese cities,” said Charlie Jing, CEO of Aerofugia, a subsidiary of Geely Technology Group.

The Volocopter 2X is said to be known for its safety and “exceptionally low noise emission”. The aircraft has nine exchangeable batteries powering 18 rotors. This design gives the system a remarkably high redundancy, ensuring that even if one or several rotors fail, the aircraft can land safely.

Also, the smaller rotor blades are a significant feature for the low and “agreeable” Volocopter sound signature. Its low buzzing resembles the sound of a beehive, apparently. Flying at a height of 100 metres, its maker says that one will not be able to hear it at regular street noise levels.

In 2019, the Volocopter 2X successfully flew over Singapore’s Marina Bay and showed that piloted electric air taxi integration in air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) is possible. The two-seat model has flown several test campaigns and is set to be the vehicle that will operate in China.

For future services, Volocopter will be using its fifth-generation aircraft, the VoloCity, which is currently in the certification process with European Aviation Safety Agency. It will have an increased speed of 110 km/h and longer flight duration of 35 minutes, after accounting for reserve battery and headwind.

The post Volocopter, Geely display the 2X electric air taxi in Shanghai – UAM service to be rolled out in China soon appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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