X2 ‘flying car’ from XPeng’s Aero HT becomes first crewed eVTOL to receive flight permit in China

XPeng’s eVTOL business arm AeroHT announced it has received a conditional permit from the Chinese government to continue flights operated by a human in its X2 “flying car.” According to the company, the X2 is the first eVTOL to receive such a permit in the entire country, allowing XPeng AeroHT to continue development on its way to mass-production of eVTOL products like its sixth-generation flying car scheduled for production next year.

AeroHT, fka XPeng Huitian, is an eVTOL-centric entity of XPeng Inc., majority-owned by the company and its founder He Xiaopeng. Since its inception in 2013, AeroHT has conducted over 15,000 safe flights with the goal of combining automotive and aerospace technologies to develop safe domestic electric flying vehicles at scale.

While the company is indeed developing an actual flying car called the X3 that we’ve witnessed drive, park, and takeoff on its own, AeroHT has had more success with its X2 eVTOL, which the company also described as a “flying car,” despite its lack of wheels. That’s because it shares body design DNA with XPeng’s P7 sedan.

X2 is further along because AeroHT has been developing it much longer, as we’ve covered in the past. As AeroHT’s fifth-generation eVTOL, the X2 has completed over 3,000 test flights since its maiden takeoff in June of 2021, including its first public flight overseas in Dubai last fall.

XPeng founder He Xiaopeng has previously speculated that his dream of flying cars will begin with a small number of eVTOLs after 2024, followed by a much larger number of vehicles occupying the skies by 2030. With its latest permit, AeroHT looks to continue its tremendous progress overseas and bring scaled implementation of zero-emission flying cars to reality.

XPeng AeroHT’s X2 eVTOL gets first conditional permit

The company shared details of its latest certification in a WeChat post from China this morning, relaying that it has officially received a special flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). As a result, XPeng’s X2 is the first human-operated eVTOL to obtain the conditional permit in the entire country.

The licensed flight certification now allows AeroHT to fly under additional licensed conditions. XPeng’s eVTOL arm is wasting no time following the news, stating it will continue to conduct a series of crewed tests to accumulate data for continued research and development. The company said it will also continue flight testing on its way toward mass production.

This is another big step for XPeng AeroHT as it looks to use its latest certification with the X2 to support the development and production of the aforementioned X3. During XPeng’s latest update during its 1024 Tech Day event last fall, the actual flying car appeared closer to production than ever and is scheduled to launch in China sometime in 2024 for about RMB 1 million ($148,000).

We will see if that actually happens and at that price point, but for now, we can expect to see a lot more eVTOL flight footage out of XPeng AeroHT’s flying car test center in Guangzhou. In the meantime, here’s that footage of the sixth-generation flying car taking off publicly for the first time.

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