Following XPeng’s recent 1024 Tech Day event in China earlier this week, we have finally been able to share video footage of its latest generation of eVTOL built by AeroHT. As promised during the presentation, XPeng’s flying car prototype completed its maiden flight and has the receipts to prove it. You’ve gotta see this.
Earlier this week, we delivered a recap of XPeng’s annual 1024 Tech Day, where the company introduces new and upcoming products and services, whiles teasing some of the advanced technologies it’s developing for the future. For a second year in a row, XPeng’s urban air mobility (UAM) division AeroHT stole the show with its flying car prototype.
The unique eVTOL that can drive on roads and navigate through air was first unveiled at XPeng’s 1024 Tech Day in 2021, which included some sleek renderings and an animated video. This year’s presentation included news that the XPeng AeroHT team had upgraded the design of the sixth-generation eVTOL from a horizontal dual-rotor structure, to a new distributed multi-rotor configuration.
The company also shared that the overall system design complexity of the eVTOL had been reduced to ensure better safety and reliability during flights. Better yet, a prototype had been built and had completed its maiden flight. Naturally, we were eager to see this footage, but it was shared during the end of the Tech Day Presentation in China, and we had to wait for the entire video to be translated to English and posted.
In the meantime, we shared a cool video of XPeng’s latest flying car in action, but it was once again animated renderings and not the real thing. Today however, we have gotten our hands on footage of the maiden flight, and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, although it’s not without its journalistic skepticism and future safety concerns. Check it out below.
Watch XPeng’s flying car take off, fly, and land
As promised, we were able to track down and share footage of the flying car flight, straight from the end of XPeng’s translated Tech Day presentation. There’s lots of other cool technology on the way from this Chinese automaker, so we recommend checking out the full presentation if you have time.
Anyways, back to the flight. As you’ll soon see, the flying car prototype drives out onto a tarmac, engages its propellers, and takes off vertically as the XPeng AeroHT team looks on with bated breath. The flying car doesn’t move around too much, but it does reach a decent height before descending back to Earth and sticking its landing, thanks to the vehicle’s suspension and tires.
Check out the video below and let’s talk about it. Does this look legitimate? Is this the future of mobility a la The Jetsons? Or are we on the fast track to getting decapitated?
This footage is as scary and concerning as it is exciting and awe-inspiring. There are plenty of ways that XPeng and AeroHT could have pulled this flying car video off, perhaps using a lighter-weight vehicle or cardboard parts. But in my interactions with the team and its engineers, that doesn’t seem like their style. He Xiaopeng is not Trevor Milton, and AeroHT is something he has personally invested in, in addition to funding from XPeng Inc.
Regardless of how viable this flying car is, there is no denying the fact that we have not seen anything like this before. UAM continues to grow and move closer to reality each day with eVTOLs designed more similarly to planes than anything, but XPeng has combined a car. A flying car.
At its very nucleus, the mere fact that XPeng and AeroHT were able to imagine a flying car like this, assemble a prototype, and get it airborne should be commended. Even if it does not become a scaled production vehicle, its challenge to the status quo and proving what is possible is perhaps worth more. We need more of this sort of thinking and tinkering out there.
Obviously, there are major safety concerns regarding the propellers, and there would need to be serious regulations and safe practices before this becomes a viable mobility segment, but that’s the boring stuff that’s a lot easier than building a vehicle that can drive, retract propellers, and take off into the air. Read that sentence again. What a time to be alive.
XPeng and AeroHT are a long ways away from the beautiful rendering you see in the image above, but by developing and testing this flying car with video proof, they are arguably closer to delivering one than anybody else out there. You simply cannot knock people for trying. They should be celebrated.
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