Volkswagen China unveils eVTOL prototype V.MO.
Volkswagen Group China has unveiled its eVTOL prototype to the public for the first time. In 2020, Volkswagen launched a vertical mobility project to explore areas including the UAM market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace.
The project team has now developed its first validation model – the V.MO. This initial prototype has also been nicknamed the ‘Flying Tiger’ due to its black and gold livery, painted to commemorate the Year of the Tiger.
The prototype concept is based on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technology. With an x-wing configuration of 11.2m in length and a span of 10.6m, the model features eight rotors for vertical lift and two propellers for horizontal flight.
Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO, Volkswagen Group China, said: “Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech savvy Chinese customers.
The group will conduct several flight tests later this year and an improved prototype will undergo further advanced test flights by late summer 2023. In its final iteration, the eVTOL will eventually carry four passengers plus luggage over distances of up to 200km.
Wöllenstein added: “This is a pioneering project which our young team of Chinese experts started from scratch – they are working with new design concepts and materials while developing new safety standards, disrupting and innovating every step of the way. The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel, and a perfect example of our ‘From China, For China’ mission. Our long-term aim is to industrialise this concept and, like a ‘Flying Tiger’, break new ground in this emerging and fast-evolving new mobility market.”
Volkswagen has been supported by Chinese partners including Hunan Sunward Technology, a subsidiary of Hunan-based manufacturing group Sunward.
In China, UAM is set to play a “significant role” in the future of urban and intercity transportation in its congested megacities, said Volkswagen. In the first phase of its commercial use, V.MO is likely to be pitched as a product for high-net worth Chinese customers.
As the project develops, the group will work with Chinese authorities to achieve certification.