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Chinese EV maker Xpeng’s flying car company raises over $500 million as it aims to roll out in 2024

Less than half a year since revealing a flying vehicle prototype, Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng unveiled a second model at the Shanghai auto show in April 2021.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China — HT Aero, the flying car company backed by Chinese electric carmaker Xpeng Inc. and its founder, raised more than $500 million from outside investors.

The money will be put toward research and development and rolling out a new model that has the ability to operate in the air and on roads.

Zhao Deli, founder and president of HT Aero, said in a press release that the company’s next-generation model will be a “fully integrated flying vehicle and automobile, designed for both low-altitude air travel and road driving.”

The company is planning for an official roll-out of the new vehicle in 2024, Zhao said. However, he did not give a timeline for when the new vehicle will be launched.

HT Aero is an affiliate company of Xpeng, one of China’s electric vehicle start-ups. Xpeng’s founder He Xiaopeng as well as the electric car company itself are investors in HT Aero.

The new funding round was led by high-profile venture capital firms IDG Capital and 5Y capital as well as Xpeng. Other investors include Sequoia China, Eastern Bell Capital, GGV Capital, GL Ventures and Yunfeng Capital.

Flying cars — also called electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles — have garnered a lot of interest from automakers and start-ups. Companies including South Korea’s Hyundai, German start-up Lilium, and China-based Ehang are developing flying passenger vehicles.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

In July, HT Aero launched the X2, its second flying car prototype and first that’s able to carry a passenger.

Xpeng’s founder He told CNBC in an interview last month that flying vehicles will be a part of the company’s future.

Still, such vehicles face a number of hurdles to get off the ground including regulatory approval to operate.


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