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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Will You Ride Geely's Flying Taxi?


Will you ride a flying electric taxi? That may soon be a reality in China thanks to Geely and the Volocopter 2X.

Considered a pioneer in the urban air mobility (UAM) segment, Volocopter showed off the 2X for the first time in China, and could be a new form of public transport in the near future. Urban air mobility (UAM) is an emerging part of the aviation industry and is a sort-of electric air taxi service that will operate within city confines.

The Volocopter 2X is known for its safety and exceptionally low noise emission. The aircraft has nine exchangeable batteries powering 18 rotors. This design gives the system a remarkably high redundancy, ensuring that even if one or several rotors fail, the aircraft can land safely. Furthermore, the smaller rotor blades offer low noise with its buzzing sound resembling a beehive. Flying at a height of 100 meters (good enough to clear a 30-story building), one will not be able to hear it at regular street noise levels.

In 2019, the Volocopter 2X successfully flew over Singapore’s Marina Bay and showed that piloted electric air taxis can be operated alongside regular air traffic. Since then, the two-seater model has flown several other test campaigns.

For future services, Volocopter will be using their fifth-generation aircraft, the VoloCity, which is currently in the certification process with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It will have an increased speed of 110 km/h, and longer flight duration of 35 minutes (after accounting for reserve battery and headwind).

Geely made an investment in Volocopter in 2019, and since then, they’ve combined their expertise in identifying where electric taxis could be best introduced in China.

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