Chinese Aero Car Takes to the Skies at Night Avoiding the Traffic

XpengX2 eVTOL 15 photos
Photo: Xpeng Aeroht
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While some automakers struggle with various systems to avoid collisions on the highways or cities, the Chinese automaker Xpeng takes a different approach; a vertical one. First, it moved from creating road-going vehicles to aero cars. Now they are flying their creations during the night.
Some people have a problem driving at night. They might have some issues with the lights from the oncoming traffic, or their eyes are too far from a 20/20 vision. Either way, they are avoiding taking the wheel after sunset. But other people don't have such problems. They would drive all night long. It's the same with pilots. Some don't like to fly during the day. The Chinese automaker Xpeng has one of these pilots, who were happy to take the helm of the X2 aero car.

This part-time car and part-time rotorcraft was announced in September 2021 at the IAA Mobility in Munich, Germany. Many people didn't believe that the Chinese company would be able to develop and produce such a thing. There were so many nay-sayers that maybe other manufacturers would have bailed out. But not Xpeng. They pursued their goal.

In October 2022, the automaker unveiled the X2 prototype at the GITEX 2022, held in Dubai at the Dubai World Trade Center. That was a surprising achievement performed by the Chinese car manufacturer. Strangely, Xpeng's management insists on being named "car maker" because it also builds road-going vehicles. They are not very successful, but still, they are available.

In addition to the X2, Xpeng showed another footage with a different kind of rotorcraft, internally named X3. While that one showed a unique concealment cover, this eVTOL was officially revealed with no camo. Finally, in a video released on the 30th of December 2022, Xpeng showed a nighttime flight. Or at least the beginning of it. You may see it below. Just play it on mute. That early '90s techno music brings back memories of the first Need for Speed PC game.

What we know is that this aircraft can fly at night, meaning that its maker already installed some special equipment in the cabin. Otherwise, it would have been suicidal to fly at night just by looking outside the generous glass area surrounding the cockpit.

This aircraft is very light, weighing just 560 kg (1,234 lb), and can lift up to 441 lb (200 kg). In addition, it can host two people inside its cockpit. The battery pack gives it an autonomy of 35 minutes at speeds of up to 80 mph (130 kph). It means that it can cover a distance of around 40 miles (65 km) if the takeoff and landing procedures total five minutes. At night, the rotorcraft also needs some aviation-grade lights.

For safety reasons, the X2 eVTOL also has a parachute that allows it to safely bring its content alive and well, just in case of a motor failure. And it has eight of them! So it might not be as graceful as a French helicopter, but it's close to being an affordable solution to beat the traffic.

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About the author: Tudor Serban
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Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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