The electric XPeng X2 does what science fiction books are full of, the flying car. The Chinese automaker wants to have it in mass production by 2024.
Flying cars never went into series production
Flying cars have been around for almost 100 years. Until recently, flying cars weren’t very practical. There are different technical requirements for cars and airplanes, which makes it difficult to meet them with a vehicle.
A good example is handling. You want a car to be stable on the road, with a reasonable weight that prevents the car from being blown off the road in a strong southwest wind. The Ministry of Transport also sets the necessary technical requirements for a car, which makes it even heavier.
An airplane must be as light as possible, because every extra kilo means more fuel. So it doesn’t really connect. Another major drawback is that you need a pilot’s license to drive a flying car.
In principle, you can achieve the same with a one- or two-person helicopter. But these have the major disadvantage that they cannot drive on the road. Although prototypes have been built that can. Thanks to the breakthrough of lithium-ion batteries and motors with rare earth metals, electrical systems have become many times more powerful. Now things are possible that were truly unthinkable before.
Competition from the Dutch corner?
Other manufacturers are also developing flying cars. For example, Dutch Pal-V, which is expected to start delivering rather expensive flying cars in 2023. Prices vary from 3 to 5 tons. For that, you get a sample of the machine, with which you can drive 1100 km as a car and fly 400-500 km on a tank with 100 liters of petrol.
In short, James Bond would be jealous of this. The auditor probably a little less. Although it is a good and much cheaper alternative to a private plane.
One of Pal-V’s first clients will be the National Police Agency.
The specifications of the XPeng X2, and with it the price tag, are more modest than the rather bombastic presentation as the “newest supernova”. For starters, this model has no wheels. You can only fly with it. You can best think of it as a giant drone that you can sit in.
Because it is an electric plane, the range is also quite limited. This means of transport is particularly suitable for use in the city, where you only need to make short flights. The city where everything is possible. And then, of course, we’re talking about Dubai: The largest city in the United Arab Emirates, where the craziest construction projects are taking off. This is probably also where the largest number of very wealthy buyers who want to buy these planes live.
Because let’s face it, only a really poor man still drives a Lamborghini if you can park right in front of the door with your own plane? Another special feature of the Xpeng X2 is the automatic control. In principle, someone without a pilot’s license can also fly the plane. Although regulators will think otherwise. As a real means of urban transport, it will probably be of interest beyond the wealthiest, mainly as a taxi, for police services and perhaps for advanced courier services.
XPeng X2 will ship around 2024
This is not the only flying model that the company produces. The smaller XPeng X1 is a single-person aircraft intended mainly for police and rescue services. With this, the company wants to compete with single-person helicopters.
X2, on the other hand, is specially developed for a more general group of users. The price of the XPeng X2, once in mass production, will be relatively modest, around 170,000 euros. The era of mass production will begin in the year 2024, the manufacturer estimates.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are already testing the successor, the X3. This one, pictured below, will look less futuristic, but be able to both fly and drive. This is of course the first real flying car they will make. In short, Xpeng is a company to watch.