German UAM company Volocopter and global mobility technology group Geely Technology have presented Volocopter's electric air taxi, the 2X, for the first time in China at Geely's booth at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition 2021. The companies are highlighting their cooperation and aim to introduce urban air mobility to the Chinese market and give visitors the chance to learn more about this new form of transport.
Urban air mobility (UAM) is an emerging part of the aviation industry focused on aerial connectivity in and around cities. As a pioneer of eVTOL air taxi technology, Volocopter has paved the way for creating the ecosystem needed to provide electric air taxi services within cities around the world. Together with Geely, Volocopter is beginning the process of introducing these mobility services in China and creating a scalable model for production and operations.
Since announcing Geely's strategic investment in Volocopter in 2019, the companies have been using their combined expertise in mobility to identify where electric air taxi services could be best introduced in China.
Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter says: “Geely's market leadership in China and forward-thinking approach to expanding mobility options make it a great strategic investor. It is an invaluable partner for bringing urban air mobility to China, one of the most promising markets for the UAM industry globally.”
Volocopter and Geely have agreed to enter a joint venture to make UAM services in China a reality and have already applied for a business licence. Public awareness is one of the key factors to successfully introducing this new mobility concept.
Charlie Jing, CEO of Geely subsidiary Aerofugia comments: “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.”
The Volocopter 2X is known for its safety and low noise emissions. The aircraft has nine exchangeable batteries powering 18 rotors. This design gives the system high redundancy, ensuring that even if one or several rotors fail, the aircraft can land safely. Furthermore, the smaller rotor blades are a significant feature for the low Volocopter sound signature, which is said to resemble the sound of a beehive. Volocopter says that, flying at a height of 100 m, 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 and unmanned traffic management was possible. Today, the two-seater model, which has previously flown several test campaigns, represents the electric air taxi vision Volocopter and Geely aim to introduce in China. For the future services, Volocopter will be using its fifth-generation aircraft, the VoloCity, which is currently in the certification process with EASA. It will have an increased speed of 110 km/h and longer flight duration of 35 minutes, after accounting for reserve battery and headwind.