A new flying car prototype with autonomous capabilities has been unveiled by XPeng Huitian, a division of XPeng Motors in China. The X2, as its being called, is the fifth-generation flying car from XPeng, and according to the company’s Chairman and CEO, “marks another step closer to a more widely available and safe flying car.”
XPeng Motors ($XPEV) is a Chinese EV manufacturer founded in 2014 and headquartered in Guangzhou. The company went public last summer on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), raising $1.5 billion. Since 2018, the company has launched two EVs — the G3 SUV, followed by the P7 sedan in 2019.
XPeng recently announced pre-orders for a new sedan model called the P5 at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. In addition to electric vehicles, XPeng has dabbled in flying car technologies through its wholly owned company, XPeng Huitian.
In addition to the P5 announcement at the Shanghai Auto Show this year, XPeng unveiled a fourth-generation flying car called the Voyager X1. This electric manned vehicle is about the same size as an EV, but has the ability to take off and land vertically in a parking space.
Since then, Voyager X1 has undergone more than 10,000 test flights and is scheduled to begin test drives in China by the end of year.
While the X1 remains in development, XPeng has now shared footage of its newest flying car, the fifth-generation X2.
XPeng CEO shares footage of new X2 flying car
In a recent post on Weibo, XPeng Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng announced the X2 flying car along with a 1.5-minute video showing the vehicle in action. By reporting this news from China, CnEVPost has shared additional specs on the X2 flying vehicle.
The flying car from XPeng Huitian weighs 360kg (794 lbs) and can handle a maximum takeoff weight of 560kg (1,235 lbs). Since it is battery electric, the X2 has the endurance for 35 minutes of flight time, and can reach a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).
The X2 has also been designed with capabilities to perform autonomous flight path planning. This technology is supported by multiple sensors, allowing the fifth-generation vessel to monitor the ground, assist in returning to land, and communicate in real time over a distance of 100 km (62 miles).
It also comes equipped with a 24-hour monitoring system to spot any potential issues before they escalate.
It appears XPeng was very mindful of safety in its latest design as well. This is a flying car after all. The X2 has eight independent battery groups, offering a redundant power supply, should any cells malfunction.
Furthermore, the electric vehicle gets aerial, thanks to eight propellers across four axes, offering multi-motor power backup.
If you’re still saying, “No way in hell I’m getting in that thing,” don’t worry. Xpeng’s new X2 flying car comes complete with an ejection parachute. XPeng itself appears to be remaining cautious as well, as all the footage appears to show the X2 operated remotely without any brave human passengers.
You can view the introductory video from XPeng here.
Maybe flying cars are gimmicky, but they’re still pretty damn cool to see. Since the 1950s, visions of the future have included flying cars, and no matter how practical they actually are at this point, the world is closer than ever to making them a reality.
Would I take the X2 for a spin? Probably not… or at least not as one of the first passengers. The parachute offers some solace, but not much. An ejection mid-air doesn’t sound very comfortable, to be honest.
It’s tough to gauge how close this flying car is to reality, and the language barrier gives us limited information. However, XPeng is already on its fifth-generation prototype of this vehicle, and is apparently planning test drives with its predecessor, the X1.
One can only imagine that the new X2 will bring XPeng one step closer to turning China’s skyline into a backdrop reminiscent of The Jetsons.
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