After the electric car race, companies are entering the race to develop flying taxis – vehicles that are forecasted to be extremely potential in the future and receive great attention from investors as well as consumers.
Flying car – vehicle of the future
Flying taxis or flying cars are small electric aircraft (eVTOLs) that take off and land vertically. This type of vehicle only has about 4-5 seats like a normal taxi. By 2021 alone, billions of dollars have been poured into developing this sector.
On November 12, the Volocopter test plane, shaped like a large drone with eight rotors, took off with a passenger in the cabin from Pontoise-Cormeilles airport on the outskirts of Paris and flew in a circle. for short periods when another aircraft is located nearby. Currently, Volocopter has a top speed of 90 km/h and a range of 20 km, Reuters reported on November 12.
This is a product from Germany’s Volocopter, a company that develops flying taxis. Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke said in the next 18 months they will prepare their plane for certification. He said the airline hopes to launch short commercial flights by 2024 when Paris hosts the Summer Olympic Games.
The company wants the two-seater aircraft to be able to take off on a fully automated basis, but it also acknowledges the need for further improvement in terms of infrastructure, airspace acceptance and public consent.
Test pilot Paul Stone said the digital flight system and multiple propellers make it much easier to fly than a traditional helicopter. “In helicopters, when you move one control button, you have to manipulate many more buttons. It’s a combination. With this model, the control button is very simple in each axis” Stone explained.
Valérie Pecresse, President of the regional council of Ile-de-France in France, said that they supported the initiative financially because she wanted the first passenger flight by vertical take-off and landing aircraft to take place out here.
“The development of low-altitude aviation for urban air mobility is a promising and promising adventure” she said in a statement.
Volocopter is in a race with other companies around the world including Lilium, Joby Aviation and Airbus to get their hands on the first flying car certified by regulators. They are aiming to achieve this in about 2 years.
According to the company’s CEO, Mr. Dirk Hoke, the start of commercial passenger flights in time for the Paris Olympics could give the German company a lead over its competitors and help them be positioned. prices from 10 billion euros or more (equivalent to 10.2 billion USD).
“We believe we can become a double-digit euro-valued company.”
Volocopter, a pioneer in the field of flying cars, said it plans to remain independent until its first commercial flight in 2024. The company representative made the above point in the context that they are receiving great attention from potential investors who want them to list on the stock exchange (IPO) this year.
Volocopter has shied away from an IPO even though its industry rivals are going that route with UK’s Vertical Aerospace and “countryside” Lilium and a host of flying taxi companies to trade on the exchange New York’s Nasdaq.
Mr. Hoke said that Volocopter has so far only raised cash through funding rounds, a development model that has been extremely attractive to investors as it could become one of the most lucrative markets in the industry not if it grows as expected.
The CEO said: “We prefer to be independent now. We want agility and we want to bring our own models to market.”
Tesla the flying car industry
Volocopter Chief Commercial Officer Christian Bauer said the company could harness the potential of the eVTOL model to become as revolutionary as Tesla electric vehicles.
“Tesla started with a two-seater and battery-powered car, now they are the most valuable car brand in the world. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Start-up financing at Volocopter with nearly 700 employees, has raised more than 500 million euros in funding rounds and is continuing to raise capital. They received $182 million in support from Saudi Arabia’s Neom, which is building a futuristic city on the Red Sea, and a fund backed by the Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group.
“The best time for an IPO would be when we have a commercial license when we have our first revenue stream and our first profit,” Bauer said. No venue has been chosen yet and the timing will depend on market conditions, although it could be held as early as 2025,” he said.
The Volocopter is based on drone technology and uses a robot to change the battery before continuing its journey. The Volocopter company aims to transport 100,000 passengers around the world every hour over the next 10 years. Vehicles do not emit gas and make noise.
References: Reuters, Bloomberg