XPeng's X2 eVTOL scheduled to make first public flight this month
Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are one of those things that frequently get announced, but rarely get past the conceptual stage. According to a recent report, though, the X2 eVTOL should make its first public flight later this month.
The X2 is designed by Chinese startup HT Aero, which is in turn owned by eight-year-old Chinese electric car manufacturer XPeng. Last week, an article in United Arab Emirates newspaper Khaleej Times stated that XPeng will fly the vehicle in public for the first time next at the Gitex Global 2022 tech exhibition, taking place Oct. 10th to 14th in Dubai.
It should be noted that a video posted in July has already shown a prototype – or perhaps a large-scale model – making a short flight. Although the video starts with a shot of XPeng CEO He Xiaopeng getting into the X2, the vehicle appears to be unmanned in the subsequent flight footage.
The current version of the two-seater eVTOL has a carbon fiber body and eight rotors mounted on four arms (two rotors per arm). It measures 4.97 meters long by 4.78 m wide by 1.36 m high (16.3 by 15.7 by 4.5 ft) although its arms can be folded, reducing its width to 1.83 m (6 ft). The whole thing is claimed to tip the scales at 560 kg (1,236 lb), and has a maximum take-off weight of 760 kg (1,676 lb).
Plans call for it to be able to cruise at 130 km/h (81 mph) – at an altitude of 1,000 m (3,281 ft) – and to have a runtime of 35 minutes per charge of its battery pack. Some of its other features include autonomous flight capability, radar ranging and obstacle avoidance systems, plus an automatically deployed safety parachute.
According to a recent report on Cnevpost, XPeng hopes to begin "small deliveries" of the X2 in 2024.