Chinese automotive manufacturer, Xpeng, has just debuted its latest creation in Dubai: a flying car.
The AeroHT X2, the two-seater, vertical take-off creation is Xpeng’s vision for the future of personal and public transport.
The X2 is classified as an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL) and is in Dubai as part of the Gitex Global conference, a prestigious annual tech showcase at the Dubai Trade Centre.
This was the X2’s first public appearance outside of China and special permission from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce has to be obtained to perform the showcase, according to EV publication, Electrek.
In front of a crowd of roughly 150 invitees, an unmanned X2 made a 90-second flight, passing over Skydive Dubai, near the Dubai Marina.
Xpeng described the event as an important base for ushering in the next generation of flying cars. Dubai was selected as the destination for the X2’s unveiling because it’s the “most innovative city in the world”, said Xpeng AeroHT’s general manager, Minguan Qiu.
Despite the X2’s lack of wheels, a defining feature of regular cars, it retained the moniker of ‘car’ because its designers lifted much of the X2’s DNA from the Xpeng Motors P7 sedan.
Lift for the X2 is created via eight propellers situated two per corner of the car. The X2’s chassis has to be lightweight enough to overcome gravity, as well as compensate for the weight of two passengers.
To this end, the frame and body are constructed from carbon fibre and other lightweight composite materials. It can reach an altitude of nearly a kilometre (975 metres) and travel at speeds close to 130 kilometres per hour.
Emissionless and green, the X2 is powered by an all-electric battery that will keep a charge for an estimated 35 minutes, according to Designboom.
The interior is decked out with what has been described as two cinema-style chairs and headrests, with two LCD screens upfront.
The centre console is occupied by a large tablet that functions as a menu to adjust interior settings.
The car’s exterior is fitted with a light system that flashes green, white, red and blue to make itself seen at night, in poor visibility or in blind spots.
Xpeng has explored eVTOL technology extensively in recent years, becoming the industry leader in the category.
Early prototypes did the media rounds as far back as 2019, when the T1 prototype was first unveiled to the public, winning a German Red Dot award for its exterior.