eVTOL News from China

Autoflight Reveal V1500M four-seat eVTOL Prototype at Airshow China 2021 in Zhuhai

On September 28th Shanghai-based Autoflight Aviation Technology unveiled V1500M passenger-carrying electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) prototype at the 13th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, China. With maximum takeoff weight of 1500kg V1500M is fully electric and has 4 seat, 200km/h cruising speed and 250km range. V1500M has 8 propellers for vertical takeoff and landing, and two propellers dedicated for cruise. AutoFlight plans to conduct maiden flight of V1500M in the near future and is already producing and operating the V400 unmanned cargo drone (with 400kg maximum takeoff weight) in China under CAAC (the Chinese civil aviation authority ) regulations.  

More Info to be announced soon or under:  josef@autoflight.com or press@autoflight.com

Airbus unveiled CityAirbus new design

Today at the Airbus Summit event with subject  “Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace” Airbus helicopter revealed the new design of CityAirbus “NextGen”. Airbus expect to start test flight of the prototype in 2023 and obtain the type certificate from EASA in 2025.

The new CityAirbus has wing surfaces for extra lift during cruise and eight propellors in fixed positions for lift and cruise. Noticeably the head of Airbus UAM Joerg Muller said in the discussion that the CityAirbus NextGen has “no movable surfaces and no tilting parts.” This can possibly mean that the aircraft simply leans forward at a specific angel of attack in cruising with the help of the eight lift propellors and without any propulsion dedicated to horizontal flight.

CityAirbus NextGen will have four seats, will have a range of 80 kilometers and cruise speed of 120 km/h.

The reply of the 1st day of Airbus Summit can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7WdCIkBQJs

Lilium Went IPO at NASDAQ

On September 15 the German eVTOL startup Lilium went initial public offering (IPO) at NASDAQ. It was the third eVTOL company going IPO after Ehang in December 2019 and Joby in August this year, and was the second eVTOL company going IPO through the fast-track SPAC approach.

Lilium obtained $584 million in cash through IPO, an amount much less than the $830 million projection when it announced the IPO plan in March mainly because 65% of the SPAC company’s shareholders chose to redempt their stock and not participate in the IPO transaction. Lilium was valued at $3.3 billion in this IPO.

Chinese eVTOL startup Volant revealed fundraising details

The Chinese eVTOL startup Volant Aerotech today revealed the investors of their first round of fundraising in amount of “millions USD”: Shunwei Capital founded by Xiaomi’s founder Mr.Lei Jun in 2011 managing total of near 3 billions USD and 2 billions RMB assets, and Ventech China, a French VC managing more than 400 millions Euro.

Volant Aerotech was founded in Shanghai in 2021 by a group of aviation veterans from COMAC (the Chinese equivalent of Boeing and Airbus) as well as the Chinese subsidiaries of Airbus, GE, Honeywell and Collins. The company revealed very little about their eVTOL design except an obscure image of the design concept. The company intend to test fly a sub-scale prototype by the end of this year.

a rendering image of Volant’s eVTOL design concept

Chinese eVTOL startup TCab Tech revealed fundraising details and design concept

The Chinese eVTOL startup TCab Tech (时的科技)revealed their fundraising situation and their five-seat eVTOL design E20.

TCab Tech was founded in Shanghai in May 2021 with a group of veterans with the background of both conventional aviation industry and eVTOL.

TCab metaphors ‘time cab’, named with the mission to offer affordable and time-efficient means of transportation to the general public, and above all, having everyone enjoys the moment of flight.

The founder and CEO of the company, Yon Wui NG, was previously Vice General Manager of Geely Terrafugia responsible for the eVTOL aircraft named TF-2A. Before Geely Terrafugia, Yon spent 10 years with Airbus China Engineering Center whereby one of his positions was Head of Engineering for the engineering center.

TCab Tech securied close to 10 millions USD within one month from their Seed and Seed+ fundraising. The Seed investment comes from BlueRun Ventures, whereas the Seed+ investment comes from Decent Capital. BlueRun Ventures is a pronounced venture capital which has supported more than 150 startups since its China-based establishment in 2005. Decent Capital was founded by Tencent co-founder Jason Zeng, it is a leading venture capital focusing on advanced technology, industrialized innovation, and web-based investments.

According to the press, the eVTOL aircraft is designed to compliance with EASA and CAAC airworthiness requirements amid EASA has published SC-VTOL while the team is exploring certification basis for passenger-carrying eVTOL with CAAC.

E20 has a tilt-rotor configuration. Noticing from the photos released, it has fixed landing gear, two wing leading-edge extended struts for accommodating its stowable two-bladed lift rotors, and a pair of distinctive dorsa-fins on its rear tilt-nacelles.

The company says in the press release that in comparison of multicopter and compound wing (seperate rotors for lift and cruise) configuration,tilt-rotor can achieve more effective cruise flight and thus longer range which is very important for eVTOL constrained with current battery technology.

E20 has seagull high wing to raise the position of the wings so that passengers can have ingress and egressget of the cabin more safely and conveniently. The airframe will be built with carbon fiber composite materials to achieve lightweight with high structural strength. E20 will embed no single point of failure in the flight control design.

E20 will have a maximum payload of 450kg, five seats (one for the pilot, four for passengers), 200kg range and 260km/h cruising speed.

According to the press, the eVTOL aircraft is designed to compliance with EASA and CAAC airworthiness requirements amid EASA has published SC-VTOL while the team is exploring certification basis for passenger-carrying eVTOL with CAAC. The media release also indicates that the E20 has a wingspan equivalent to the diameter of a small helicopter’s rotor, permitting the eVTOL aircraft to make use of the smallest helipad infrastructures on the existing highrises.

While there are overwhelming European and American air taxi startups, there have been rather limited Chinese counterparts. Majority of Chinese companies focus on drone rather than air taxi application. With TCab Tech breaking the ice with their fundraising, we expect to see more Chinese advanced air mobility startups to unveil soon. Stay tuned.

Blois is back – electric is coming.

After 1 year pause the Blois Ultralight meeting is Back on track.

The largest pure ultralight show in Europe. The show which after 39 years ruining was paused in 2020 for the first time was taken over by the french Ultralight Association FFPLUM with over 120 exhibitors. Hundrets of pilots arrived by their own UL-aircraft and after 2 years waiting the exhibitors have many things to show.

The electric Swan propeller by a Geiger electric motor is propelling the

single seater swan from Romania.

Most exhibitors still show conventional aircraft with combustion engines. Because the French Ultralight regulations have a maximum Take off weight (MTOW) of 525 Kg instead of the 600 Kg in Germany CZ Republic and other countries. Due to the weight of the batteries this does not allow two seater UL aircraft with electric propulsion a sufficient endurance.

But there are some new players coming and showing their aircraft. And in the opening ceremony with several regional and national politicians everybody stated the importance of electric aviation for reducing the ecological footprint.

…Report will be continues

But the number of electric exhibitors is increasing