October 2, 2023
Five flying cars developed by a Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker have been delivered to be used for aerial tourism and sightseeing experiences in Shenzhen, China.
The delivery by EHang Holdings marks the start of a 100-unit order from Shenzhen Boling Holding Group.
The electric aerial vehicles (EAV) will be used for regular flight operations in Ehang’s urban air mobility demonstration center, according to the company.
“The low-altitude economy holds promising prospects, and I am thrilled to collaborate with EHang, a leading company in this sector,” said Guanshen Xu, chairman of Boling. “We are confident that integrating passenger-carrying autonomous aerial vehicles with our businesses will bring forth a more intelligent and convenient way of life for everyone.”
EHang recently completed all the planned tests and flights in the last phase of demonstration and verification of compliance and completed the definitive type certification (TC) flight test.
This was the final milestone before full certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which accepted the company’s TC application in January 2021. The next expected step is for EHang to receive the type certificate of its EH216-S EAV.
The Boling deal for the other 95 vehicles is pending that certification.
EHang has signed a deal with the Bao’an District Government of Shenzhen municipality for a strategic partnership in urban air mobility for commercial operations of aerial vehicles following certification.
The arrangement calls for the Bao’an District Government to provide comprehensive support for aerial vehicle procurement, financial leasing, infrastructure construction and low-altitude operations in the area.
The Chinese EAV company has raised $23 million in a private placement, mostly from a well-known South Korean music producer.
EHang plans to establish an assembly and delivery center, a research and development testing center and a maintenance support center in the Bao’an District.
“As the type certification of EH216-S is close to completion, our preparations for post-certification operations are in full swing,” said Xin Fang, chief operating officer of EHang. “Shenzhen Bao’an District, with its unique industrial ecosystem and conducive conditions for developing the low-altitude economy, is an ideal region for deploying commercial EH216-S operations.”
Earlier this year, EHang conducted a passenger-carrying autonomous flight by its air taxi in Japan.
Countless EAVs are under development, ranging from those in the ultralight category, which do not require a pilot license to fly, to air taxis. Major airlines including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines all have placed orders or pre-orders for electric aerial vehicles.
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