The Chinese division of the Volkswagen Group is fully involved in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft sector. This department already presented its first credentials last year 2020 when it spoke of a first idea for the project. Two years later, the first prototype is complete and has been presented and exhibited in the offices that the business group owns in BeijingChina.
This is not the first time that a well-known manufacturer specialized in automobiles has taken the step towards electric aerial technology, since among them is the example of Hyundai together with Rolls-Royce, the prototype presented by Suzuki or Toyota and its millionaire investment in Joby Aviation. These brands have assured on numerous occasions that the electrification of their range of models could flatten the difficulties initially presented by entering the eVTOL sector.
After years of research, development and testing using digital models, The Volkswagen China Group has revealed what its eVTOL model will look like, as well as some of the specifications that the vehicle will finally have. In the first place, the name chosen for the electric aircraft has been V.MO, although internally it has received the nickname “Flying Tiger” due, in particular, to its exterior decoration in black, white and gold tones. This has not been a mere coincidence, since it commemorates its presentation in the Chinese year of the tiger (this 2022).
The aircraft has eight rotors for vertical lift and two additional propellers for horizontal displacement. Seen from above, the vehicle is shown with a square support where the aforementioned motors are attached; this has a diagonal of 11.2 meters and a length of 10.6 meters. Additionally, the V.MO makes use of aerial autonomous driving technology. The final vehicle is expected to have an electric range of around 200 kilometers and the capacity to transport up to four passengers inside (three plus the pilot) in addition to their own personal luggage.
The “Flying Tiger” is nothing more than the first prototype of the eVTOL aircraft of the Volkswagen China Group, since later they will present new advances on it until, finally, reaching a more refined commercial version. The next step for the air department will be to start ground testing; Later, they will start flight tests, which will not arrive before the summer of 2023 and under a new, more developed prototype. For now, no specific dates have been given on when this eVTOL will hit the market, although everything indicates that it will be during the second half of this decade.
For its commercial arrival, from the division of the Volkswagen China Group, they hope that this model marketed as “a premium, high-net-worth product for tech-savvy Chinese customers”, assure those responsible. One of the main purposes that it will have will be to provide air transport services to VIPs and in specific places such as concerts, mass events or short trips between luxury hotels and the nearest airport, for example.
The Volkswagen Group has made a strong commitment to this sector, which is experiencing an ever-increasing boom, since they anticipate that it will be the best response to decongest daily traffic in large cities. Currently, the Chinese subsidiary is working with the relevant authorities to obtain certification for future flight tests.