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Geely Brings Air Taxis to China, Will Manufacture and Operate Volocopter eVTOLs

The connection between the Chinese carmaker Geely and the German-based urban air mobility (UAM) startup Volocopter might not seem obvious at first. It turns out that Geely has an UAM subsidiary, called Aerofugia, which is part of the new joint venture that will bring the first air taxis to the Chinese market.
Geely has pre-ordered 150 Volocopter aircraft, which will begin operating in the next years 7 photos
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The new Volocopter Chengdu, a joint venture of Geely and Volocopter, will have its headquarters in Chengdu, the Sichuan Province’s capital. This strategic location was chosen not just because it’s one of the most important economic and transportation hubs in Western China, but also because it’s one of Geely’s manufacturing bases.

In fact, the plan is for future Volocopter aircraft and parts to be produced at the Geely General Aviation Manufactory Base. This is just one indication that the two companies have big plans for the future of UAM in China.

Under the initial agreement, 150 eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles) have been pre-ordered. Also, Geely Holding Group’s CEO, Daniel Li Donghui, is now part of Volocopter’s Advisory Board.

Cooperation between the two companies began in 2019, when the Chinese carmaker became a one of the UAM company’s strategic investors. The launch of this joint venture is the next big step in their cooperation, with advantages on both sides.

On one hand, China is considered the largest single market for air taxis and, on the other hand, the European UAM startup is the only one in the industry to hold two European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification approvals for designing and producing eVTOLs.

The eVTOL developer has now accomplished the goal of having a global reach. After having demonstrated the first public manned flight of an eVTOL in Europe (Paris, France), then in the U.S. (at the Oshkosh air show), Volocopter has now extended its operations to China.

This development comes after the recent announcement that the Volocity air taxi could be coming to Los Angeles in a few years. Geely also intends to being operating the first air taxis in China within three to five years. We’ll have to wait and see who will be the first to break the ice in the UAM industry.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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