China’s Xpeng unveils flying car prototype at major Beijing auto show

Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng revealed it is working on a flying car model and showed off a prototype of the vehicle at the Beijing motor show – the biggest international event held for the industry since the pandemic began.

During the show, which kicked off on Saturday, the Chinese rival to American EV maker Tesla said that it wants to invest in flying car technology. According to its CEO, He Xiaopeng, the carmaker is funding air taxi startup Xpeng Heitech, in which he owns a majority stake.

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The startup is behind the development of a drone-like ultra-low altitude flying car, dubbed the Kiwigogo. Equipped with eight turbofans, the vehicle can carry two passengers at an altitude of between five meters and up to 25 meters, according to Xpeng. Heitech said it obtained 15 patents on its proprietary intellectual rights over seven years.

However, the levitating car is still being developed and it is unclear when it will be available on the market. Other automakers such as Toyota and Volvo owner Geely are also working on similar technology, while General Motors is reportedly considering the aerial taxi market.

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The Guangzhou-based EV maker did not elaborate on how much it is going to spend on the development of the technology, but said that it wants to evaluate the prospects of the air-enabled mobility space before substantially expanding investment. Xpeng acquired massive funds for research and development after the company held a successful IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, which helped it to raise about $1.5 billion.

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