The eVTOL pure ‘flying car’ takes centre stage, but the modular Land Aircraft Carrier EV will be first to production and on sale this year in China.
There are plenty of forward-thinking concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and 2024 saw the debut of the latest flying car from Chinese firm XPeng Aeroht. The eVTOL Flying Car is an electric supercar that previews a potential production machine from XPeng Aeroht, a subsidiary of car maker XPeng.
The machine features a long, narrow body with a cab-forward two-seater cockpit, which is designed to make room for the flight controls behind. At CES, the Xpeng Aeroht demonstrated how the flight system opens and closes, with the rear roof panel rising to reveal a set of four rotors that extend out to each corner of the car for powered flight. When folded, the system fits neatly into the car’s body, meaning it should be as simple to park as a conventional passenger car.
Specifications for the eVTOL are still to be confirmed, although with a two-tonne kerbweight (mainly thanks to the battery on board) it’s going to need some serious thrust to get airborne.
The second model from XPeng Aeroht – although one that wasn’t present at CES – is the Land Aircraft Carrier, which the makers claim will be available to order by the end of the year, before deliveries start at the end of 2025. The Land Aircraft Carrier is a modular vehicle that separates the flying and driving elements into two vehicles that work together.
The road car is a six-wheel-drive range-extender hybrid with a driving range of 965km, space for up to five people and off-road capability. The car’s design creates space in the back for the flying module.
This has a two-seat configuration and is powered by electric motors, while the electronics on board can take control of flight, according to XPeng Aeroht. The thinking behind this modular EV is that the road car can take passengers where they want to go, before using the flying module to explore the area. This set-up means there’s no compromise on weight for the manned drone, while it can also be recharged via the range-extending powertrain of the carrier vehicle.
Both the eVTOL and Land Aircraft Carrier are due to go on sale in China first, and will be pitched as high-end luxury machines. Xpeng Aeroht estimates a price of $200,000 for the Carrier when order books open at the end of 2024. There’s no timescale for the launch of the eVTOL yet.