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GUANGZHOU, CHINA (Reuters) HT Aero, a flying automobile startup funded by Xpeng Inc., a Chinese electric automaker, and its creator, has secured more than $500 million from outside investors. The funds will be used for research and development as well as the introduction of a new model that can function both in the air and on the ground. In this investment round, IDG Capital, 5Y Capital, Xpeng, and others contributed to the business, which was formed in 2013 and was previously known as Xpeng Heitech, according to a statement.
The company’s next-generation model, according to Zhao Deli, founder and president of HT Aero, would be a completely integrated flying vehicle and automotive, intended for both low-altitude air flight and road driving. According to Zhao, the new car will be available for purchase in 2024. He did not, however, provide an estimated launch date for the new vehicle. HT Aero is a subsidiary of Xpeng, an electric car start-up in China. He Xiaopeng, the founder of Xpeng, and the electric car firm itself are both investors in HT Aero.
High-profile venture capital companies IDG Capital and 5Y Capital, as well as Xpeng, lead the latest fundraising round. Sequoia China, Eastern Bell Capital, GGV Capital, GL Ventures, and Yunfeng Capital are among the other investors. Electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, often known as flying cars, have piqued the curiosity of manufacturers and start-ups alike. Hyundai of South Korea, Lilium of Germany, and Ehang of China are among the companies developing flying passenger cars.
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HT Aero debuted the X2, its second flying vehicle prototype and the first to transport a passenger, in July 2021. The founder of Xpeng stated that flying cars will be a part of the company’s future. However, getting such cars off the ground will need a number of obstacles, including governmental permission. Companies ranging from start-ups to multinational automakers are racing to create commercial flying “Robo-taxis,” aiming to cash in on a market worth $1.5 trillion by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley.