The rapid expansion of clean energy initiatives, driven by the pursuit of sustainability and net-zero targets, has brought about a notable transformation in the aviation sector. This transformation is exemplified by the emergence of an extraordinary innovation set to redefine our journeys through the skies: the Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft, or eVTOL.
While various ventures in the Western world vie to materialize their eVTOL designs, a Chinese initiative has recently captured attention with its distinct flying saucer-like design. Developed over a span of three years by researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University, this eVTOL successfully completed its inaugural test flight at an exhibition event held in Shenzhen.
Manufactured by Shenzen UFO Flying Saucer Technology, the eVTOL showcases a captivating UFO-like appearance, featuring six openings encircling the pilot’s cabin to house its dual propellers, totaling twelve in all. This unconventional design emphasizes stability and safety by ensuring an equitable distribution of engine thrust.
With a flight duration of 15 minutes and the ability to reach an altitude of 656 feet (200 meters), the eVTOL boasts a maximum flight speed of 31 mph (50 km/h). Additionally, the aircraft incorporates autonomous flying capabilities, relieving passengers of mundane flight-related tasks and enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the experience.
As reported by Shenzen Times, the eVTOL also possesses the capability to take off and land on both land and bodies of water. Initially, the company plans to utilize the eVTOL for tourism and promotional purposes.
China’s eVTOL sector is witnessing a surge of activity, with Guangzhou-based XPeng X2 securing a flying permit in early 2023. Globally, major companies are also racing to enter the competition, as demonstrated by Volkswagen unveiling its prototype and Toyota partnering with Joby Aviation to jointly manufacture passenger eVTOLs.
Archer Aviation is prepared to conduct in-house testing of its first eVTOL air taxi, while Mc Clic, headquartered in Monaco, has already introduced its Mc One personal aircraft to potential customers, priced at $150,000. Alternatively, the Jetson One offers a slightly more affordable option with a price tag of approximately $100,000.
The increasing number of participants in the eVTOL sector is poised to drive technological advancements, presenting a more cost-effective, sustainable, and efficient solution for short-distance commutes.