Less than half a year after unveiling a prototype of the flying vehicle, Chinese electric car startup Xpeng unveiled a second model at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2021.
Evelyn Cheng | CNBC
GUANGZHOU, China – HT Aero, the flying car company backed by Chinese electric car maker Xpeng Inc. and its founder, more than $500 million from outside investors.
Funds will be allocated to research and development and roll out a new model that has the ability to operate in the air and on the road.
Zhao Deli, founder and president of HT Aero, said in a press release that the company’s next-generation model will be “a fully integrated vehicle and flight vehicle, designed for low-altitude air travel and road driving.”
Zhao said the company plans to officially launch the new car in 2024. However, he did not give a timeline for when the new car would be launched.
HT Aero is a subsidiary of Xpeng, one of the electric vehicle startups in China. Xpeng founder He Xiaopeng as well as the electric vehicle company itself are investors in HT Aero.
The new funding round was led by high-profile venture capital firms IDG Capital and 5Y Capital, as well as Xpeng. Other investors include Sequoia China, Eastern Bell Capital, GGV Capital, GL Ventures and Yunfeng Capital.
Flying cars – also called electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles – have received a lot of attention from automakers and start-ups. Companies including South Korea’s Hyundai, German startup Lilium, and China-based Ehang are developing flying passenger cars.
In July, HT Aero launched the X2, the second flying car prototype and the first capable of carrying a passenger.
The founder of Xpeng He told CNBC in an interview last month that flying vehicles will be part of the company’s future.
However, such vehicles face a number of hurdles to get off the ground including regulatory approval to operate.