Flying cars have long been thought of to be a long way off, but the Xpeng X2 may usher in its revolution.
The XPeng Voyager X2 is a fifth generation eVTOL multicopter aircraft which holds two passengers, has eight propellers, eight electric motors, powered by batteries, has a maximum speed of 130 kp/h (81 mph) and a flight time of 35 minutes. The aircraft is flown autonomously, has fixed-skid type landing gear and has been made specifically for Urban Air Mobility (UAM).
The Voyager X2 was revealed at a public exhibition in Shanghai, China in July 2021 and in Europe in March 2022. The price range for the Voyager X2 is expected to be in the range of $126,000.00 – $236,000.00 USD. The company plans to test fly the aircraft in Europe in 2022 and serial production will occur in 2024.
After acquiring a special flying permit from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), the Chinese company demonstrated the abilities of the flying car with an empty cockpit, but the company claims it conducted a manned flight test in July 2021. The fully autonomous flying vehicle can reach the top speed of 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour) and comes equipped with a set of eight propellers. Additionally, it has an aerodynamic water drop design and XPeng Aeroht built it using lightweight carbon fiber.
Green crusaders and eco-warriors will love the XPeng X2 because it produces zero carbon dioxide emissions during flight. Meanwhile, clients that dislike chatty Uber/Lyft drivers will appreciate that the flying taxi offers both manual and autonomous flying choices. This means that if a passenger doesn’t like to converse with their driver, they can choose to fly alone.
After completion of its risk assessment and being given a flying permit by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), the X2 made flew its first flight over the skies of Dubai.
The public flight took place at Skydive Dubai, located adjacent to The Palm, offering excellent airspace conditions and panoramic views of the cityscape to provide the historic flight with a breathtaking backdrop.
The eVTOL Xpeng X2 is a fifth-generation flying car developed and manufactured by Xpeng Aeroht. What is new to this new entree is the enclosed cockpit, tear-shaped design, and sci-fi appearance that the company says affects the high-efficient aerodynamics of the flying car to maximize the in-flight performance. Xpeng X2 is fully made in carbon fiber structure to limit its weight and can accommodate two passengers in its compact size. The company states that no carbon emissions are produced during flight because it is all-electric and thanks to its eight rotors, the Xpeng X2 flying car can soar up to 3,200 feet at a speed of up to 130 km/h for around 35 minutes.
Xpeng X2 eVTOL suits low-attitude city flights and short-distance city commutes including sightseeing and medical transportation. It is equipped with two driving modes: manual and autonomous. During the autonomous flight, the flying car can go on its own and the passengers can sit back and enjoy the view with a touch of a button. As the company states, the function is as simple as clicking start, flying high, and returning to the destination with its landing operations.
Inside the aircraft, the cushioned seats resemble comfortable cinema chairs with headrests, and each passenger has a dedicated LCD screen in front of them that displays flight information. A tablet lies in the gearbox to assist the passengers in their flight modes and tweak the settings of their travel. The exterior is also lined with different lighting such as green, white, red, and blue, so that passengers can fly high even at night without causing blind spots for the other aircraft pilots on air.
Xpeng X2’s public display in Dubai represents a significant milestone for Xpeng Aeroht and the international achievement of flying cars,” said Brian Gu, vice chairman and president of Xpeng.
Dubai is a world-renowned ‘City of Innovation’, which is the reason we decided to hold the X2 first public flight event here. Today’s flight is a major step in XPENG’s exploration of future mobility.
The price range for the Voyager X2 is expected to be in the range of $126,000.00 – $236,000.00 USD. The company plans to test fly the aircraft in Europe in 2022 and serial production will occur in 2024.
XPeng was co-founded in 2014 by Xia Heng (Henry Xia) and He Tao, former senior executives at GAC Group with expertise in automotive technology and research and development. Initial backers included: the founder of UCWeb and former Alibaba executive He Xiaopeng, namesake and current Chairman of XPeng, and Lei Jun, the founder of Xiaomi. Prominent Chinese and international investors included Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital. A further funding round in 2018 saw Alibaba’s vice president Joseph Tsai join the corporate board of XPeng.
XPeng’s subsidiary in the United States, XMotors.ai held a permit for testing self-driving cars from the California Department of Motor Vehicles starting in September 2018. The permit was revoked in February 2020 due to XPeng’s failure to submit a disengagement report. XPeng Motors then received a renewed Autonomous Vehicles Testing Permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in March 2020.
XPeng started production of its first model, the XPeng G3 SUV, in November 2018. It launched the G3 in December 2018 at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Its second model, the P7, a four-door electric sedan, premiered in April 2019 at the 2019 Auto Shanghai show. and started deliveries to customers in June 2020.
In May 2019, XPeng launched a vehicle for hire company with its own vehicles to serve Guangzhou.
In November 2019, XPeng raised US$400 million in a third fundraising round, which saw Xiaomi join as a strategic investor of XPeng. In July 2020, XPeng raised US$500 million from a group of investors including Aspex, Coatue, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital China. In August 2020, XPeng raised an additional US$400 million from a group of investors including Alibaba, Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala. On 27 August 2020, XPeng raised US$1.5 billion with an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, where its shares climbed more than 40% on the first day of trading. In March 2021, the company received a US$76.9 million funding from Guangdong Yuecai Investment Holdings Co. As of May 2021, 23% of XPeng shares are owned by He Xiaopeng, and 12% by Alibaba Group.
In the third quarter of 2021, revenue for XPeng rose over 500% compared to the year before. It had also increased its R&D team by about a third since the year before.
In 2021, for the first time, XPeng started exporting its flagship P7 sedan. Its first international market was Norway, starting in August. In August 2021, the company’s P5 subcompact sedan became able to read traffic lights. In September 2021, XPeng brought its P5 to market. It is the first production car to be equipped with lidar sensors for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
In October 2021, XPeng’s subsidiary HT Aero announced $500 million in funding and the design for a flying car with a planned launch in 2024.
The X2 car produces zero carbon dioxide emissions during flight because it is all-electric, and is designed with low-altitude city capabilities in mind, reaching a maximum flight speed of 130 kilometres per hour.
It comes equipped with both road and flying capabilities; with a lightweight design and rotor mechanisms that enables a quick and easy transition from driving to flying.
It has an intelligent flight control system, as well as autonomous flight capabilities and In order to reduce weight, the XPeng X2 has a complete carbon fiber structure,” the company said in a statement.
Equipped with both manual and automatic flight driving modes, this next-generation electric flying car, which is able to drive in the air and on roads, represents a true transformation from two-dimensional to three-dimensional mobility. As well as meeting daily travel demands, it can trigger the folding deformation system to achieve vertical take-off and landing for a low-altitude manned flight.
XPeng uses a combination of lidar, radar, and a camera for driver aid. The lidar system uses laser light to create a 3D space by measuring the distance between objects and the time it takes for the light to bounce back. Xinzhou Wu stated “Lidar will provide the 3D drivable space and precise depth estimation to small moving obstacles even like kids and pets, and obviously, other pedestrians and the motorbikes which are a nightmare for anybody who’s working on driving”, The radar will provide the vehicles with the ability to detect the speed of an object and also the location. The camera will provide the vehicle with basic semantic information as stated by Xinzhou Wu. Lidar has come down in price significantly over the last few years with drone companies such as DJI announcing the integration in their aerial surveying technology. The Zenmuse L1 – Lidar + RGB camera starts at a price of 13,100$. XPeng’s lidar system is provided by Livox.The decreasing price and increased innovation and development in lidar is making it cheaper for consumers to enjoy. “Our next vehicle is targeting the economy class. I would say it’s mid-range in terms of price”.
XPeng’s batteries are developed by China’s largest battery developer, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).
XPeng has moved away from CTP batteries to LFP batteries, which negates the need for cobalt in a battery, one of the most expensive materials in a battery. However LFP batteries do reduce the range of the vehicle. “Xpeng announces they were launching new versions of the P7 sedan and G3 SUV with LFP batteries. The new versions with lithium iron phosphate cells will be available for the rear-wheel-drive P7 sports sedan first, effectively driving down the 700 km long-range to 480 kilometres. LFP batteries however do provide longer life cycles and are generally safer.
XPeng offers free lifetime charging similar to what Tesla has offered their customers around the world. XPeng’s charging network has expanded to over 1,000 charging stations within China, and customers have access to another 200,000 third party stations positioned in major cities. XPeng intends to construct more than 50 S4 sites in large cities by the end of 2022, with an additional 20 sites each in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, with Shenzhen following in 2023. By 2025, Xpeng hopes to have 2,000 super-fast charging stations.
Who owns XPeng?
He Xiaopeng, the founder and CEO of Chinese smart electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Motors, bought 2.2 million of the firm’s American depositary shares from the market, as its new SUV launch boosts confidence for future profitability after months of downward pressure on the stock.
he born 3 November 1977) is a Chinese entrepreneur, best known for co-founding companies including XPeng Motors, an intelligent electric vehicle manufacturer, and UCWeb, the Chinese mobile Internet software and service provider he co-founded in 2004. UCWeb was acquired by Alibaba Group in June 2014 in the largest M&A deal ever in Chinese Internet industry. After acquisition, he was named as president of UCWeb and president of the Alibaba Mobile Business Group, and later served as the president of Tudou & Ali Games.
On 22 August 2017, Xiaopeng left Alibaba and officially joined XPeng Motors on 29 August as chairman of the startup.
Born in Huangshi, Hubei, where he spent his childhood. He graduated from the South China University of Technology with a bachelor degree in computer science.
He worked at AsiaInfo Technologies in various roles including technology manager, testing manager and project manager after graduation in his early career.
He co-founded UCWeb with Liang Jie in 2004 overseeing the company product strategy and R&D efforts. In June 2014, UCWeb was acquired by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group for $4,3 billion making He Xiaopeng a billionaire. From 2014 to August 2017, Xiaopeng served as senior executive of Alibaba Mobile Business Division. On 22 August 2017, Xiaopeng officially announced his resignation from all his positions in Alibaba to start a new adventure and lead startup XPeng Motors.
In 2014, He Xiaopeng supported Xia Heng and He Tao in the foundation of XPeng Motors, an electric self-driving vehicle automobile company. The company received initial investments from Li Xueling, Fu Sheng, Wu Xiaoguang, Zhang Ying, and other investors to work on autonomous driving engineering and machine learning. XPeng’s stated goal was to manufacture networked cars in China with capabilities like electrification, intelligence, networking and autonomous driving. In September 2016, XPeng Motors released the beta version of its prototype G3 intelligent electric mini-SUV in Beijing. The car received positive reviews for its design, performance and technology. He became full-time chairman of XPeng in August 2017.
XPeng Motors currently manufactures its G3 intelligent electric SUV in China, and distributes and supports its vehicles through a chain of retail and service centers across the country. The company’s P7 intelligent electric sports coupe model is scheduled to come to market in the spring of 2020.
Gu added: “We believe this advancement takes us one step closer to the future of short-distance city journeys taking advantage of this technology, including sightseeing and medical transportation.”
We’re still a long way off from real flying cars being put into mass production, but this seems like a very far and good step forward towards that direction. Back then, Back To The Future and even The Jetsons gave us a peek at what the future of mobility might be, and this time the XPeng X2 has already given us something to think about.
Now we’re really curious about what other companies and vehicle manufacturers in Asia, the Americas, and Europe might come up with. What a time to be alive.
courc: heyxpeng_ carnewschina _ wikipedia_evtol _ designboom
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