EHang commits to building air taxi terminal for China
Just last month, China's air mobility company EHang announced plans to fly into Europe and set up shop in Seville, Spain. Now the firm has partnered with the City of Hezhou in Guangxi Province, China, to build a tourism-focused terminal for its air taxis.
EHang isn't the only company trying to get air taxis to fly in cities around the world, and is not the first to build somewhere for them to operate from, but its so-called E-port could well be the first to go into operation – something that's scheduled to happen by the end of 2020.
The E-port terminal building will be three stories high and have a 2,500 sq m (almost 27,000 sq ft) footprint. There will be a reception hall on the first floor, a passenger waiting area on the second and departure/arrivals on the third. Four landing pads are to be located on the roof, though the plan does call for 20 EHang 216 two-seat autonomous aerial vehicles (AAV) to be in operation at the facility.
The EHang 216 electric air taxi sports eight arms around the passenger pod, each home to two rotors. It has a reported top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph), but will cruise at about 100 km/h – though flight time is currently just 21 minutes per charge so it's likely that only some of the fleet in Hezhou will be in the air at the same time, while others are on charge.
"Hezhou is a beautiful city with rich tourism resources and we are excited to enhance their appeal with our AAVs," said EHang founder, chairman and CEO, Hu Huazhi. "As we progress, we intend to create more commercial applications for EHang AAVs, such as aerial sightseeing that can uniquely merge modern culture and tourism. We also welcome more local partners to join us and embrace the opportunity to a provide safe, autonomous, and green approach to travel and sightseeing."