Xpeng-backed eVTOL Startup HT Aero Plans to Debut its Two-Seat X2 'Flying Car' in Europe

Xpeng-backed eVTOL Startup HT Aero Plans to Debut its Two-Seat X2 'Flying Car' in Europe

Author: Eric Walz   

HT Aero, an aviation startup backed by Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng Inc and its CEO and co-founder He Xiaopeng, will officially introduce its X2 "flying car" at an upcoming launch event in Europe, news outlet CnEVPost reported on March 15. 

The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer previously said it plans to test-fly the X2 in Europe in the first half of 2022 and the plans align with that goal. XPeng announced that HT Aero will hold a launch event in Europe in the near future to officially introduce the X2 flying car to the public.

Xpeng-backed HT Aero introduced the X2 flying car during the European Rotors exhibition in Cologne, Germany in Nov 2021. The aviation startup said it plans to test-fly the X2 in Europe in the first half of 2022.

According to the reports, HT Aero shipped the X2 aircraft to the Netherlands on March 10 in preparation for its European debut.

The arrival of the X2 in the Netherlands featured prominent guests, including Jan Peter Balkenende, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and chairman of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition, and Philippe Vangeel, Secretary-General of the European Association for Electromobility (AREE), according to XPeng.

The X2 is a two-passenger, enclosed cockpit, eVTOL aircraft with autonomous flight capabilities, ground monitoring, autonomous take off and landing and 100-kilometer two-way real-time communication.

The X2 shares some of the same styling and design as XPeng's flagship P7 smart sedan. The eVTOL aircraft sports an elegant, minimalist "sci-fi appearance", according to XPeng. 

The X2 has an unladen weight of 560 kg (1,235 lbs.) and a maximum takeoff weight of 760 kg (1,675 lbs.). It has a maximum cruising speed of 130 km per hour (81 mph) and a flying range of about 35 minutes.

The X2 is actually the fifth generation of HT Aero's two-person smart electric flying car, a project that began in Nov 2020. The X2 made its first successful test flight in China in June 2021. Since then, it has undergone more than 15,000 manned flights, according to Xpeng. 

The fifth generation X2 has been significantly improved over the previous versions. It's powered by a highly efficient and convenient charging system, which leverages XPeng's supercharging technology developed for its electric vehicles. 

The X2 has a plug-in charging port that's similar to an electric car. The X2 also utilizes high-efficiency aerodynamics to optimize flight performance which can also help increase range.

Xpeng Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng officially announced the launch of the X2 eVTOL aircraft via the Chinese social media platform Weibo in July 2021, and wrote "This marks another step closer to a more widely available and safe flying car."

Xpeng opened reservations for its new P5 sedan in four European countries last week. It's the third vehicle that Xpeng is launching in Europe, following the previous exports of the company's G3 SUV and P7 sedan to Norway.

Reservations for Xpeng's new P5 sedan are being opened simultaneously in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The move marks a major milestone for Xpeng's European expansion plans.The rising EV adoption rate in all four of the European countries makes them attractive markets for Xpeng. 

In addition to the X2 unveiling, Xpeng said Thursday it led an investment in a new $200 million fund focused on backing electric vehicles and "frontier technology" start-ups. The fund is called Rockets Capital. 

Other investors in Rockets Capital include high-profile firms IDG Capital, eGarden, Sequoia China, 5Y Capital and GGV Capital.

According to Xpeng, Rockets Capital will focus on "venture and growth stage investments in Smart EV industry value chain, clean energy, and frontier technology areas."

HT Aero is one of several high-profile aviation startups working on eVTOL aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM) that may one day wisk passengers in the sky over the crowded roads below. Others include Toyota-backed Joby Aviation, Volocopter and Lilium

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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