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Unlike the competing flying car startups operating today, HT Aero is focused on consumer or passenger flying cars, and not just on those for the business sector.
HT Aero, an affiliate of Chinese electric car maker, Xpeng Inc (NYSE: XPEV) and one of the firms pioneering the development of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) has announced it has secured the sum of $500 million in its Series A funding round. The fundraiser was led by IDG Capital, 5Y Capital, and XPeng, with participation from other investors including Sequoia China, Eastern Bell Capital, GGV Capital, GL Ventures, and Yunfeng Capital.
The concept of flying cars is still in its infancy, and though HT Aero has made huge advancements in its innovations, charting over 15,000 safe manned flights since inception, it still has more milestones to cover.
While the investment shows the growing interest amongst investors in the future potential of flying vehicles in the transport of the future, it marks a more direct avenue for backers like Xpeng to expand their ecosystem.
“Our mission has always been to explore efficient, safer, and carbon-neutral mobility solutions that go beyond smart EVs. What we are seeing is the integration of the three driving forces of smart mobility – disruptive technology, new sources of energy, and mass production. We will embrace this opportunity, which is unprecedented in the history of modern transportation. The investment in HT Aero will further accelerate the build-up of our ecosystem to integrate driving and flying”, said Mr. He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of XPeng Inc.
According to the Xpeng backed HT Aero, the bulk of the funds will be committed to funding Research & Development (R&D), an activity it currently commits as much as 80% of its professional expertise into. More talents will also be acquired as well as strategic investments in order to secure the licenses required to operate its products.
HT Aero to Design a Car That Operates on Both Air and Land
Prior flying car models including the X2 launched by HT Aero have always been fitted for the air, however, the company said it has plans to roll out new models that can operate both on land and in the air.
“The Series A financing will provide us with sufficient resources to advance our research and development, acquire top-tier talent, and to continue to gain airworthiness provision and certification,” said Mr. Deli Zhao, Founder, and President of HT Aero. “Our next-generation model will be a fully integrated flying vehicle and automobile, designed for both low-altitude air travel and road driving. We are planning for an official roll-out in 2024.”
Unlike the competing flying car startups operating today, HT Aero is focused on consumer or passenger flying cars, and not just on those for the business sector. The ambitious drive to roll out the dual model air and road cars will mark a major milestone that is billed to place HT Aero at the forefront of automobile innovation in the coming years.
Amongst the major players in the flying car, the ecosystem includes South Korea’s Hyundai, German start-up Lilium, and China-based Ehang, all of which are developing flying passenger vehicles.