Volocopter Spreads its Wings in China, Too
In March, the eVTOL.com website broke the news that Bruchsal, Germany-based Volocopter GmbH had submitted a patent application in May 2020 for a tandem-winged multicopter. In addition to the two pairs of wings, with three three-bladed lifting propellers on each side, a low-set tailplane features a pair of tractor propellers for forward flight. The article noted that the past decade of development at Volocopter has focused on a very simple multicopter design. “Since 2018, however, a small team within Volocopter has focused on a winged, lift-plus-cruise design — depicted in the above patent application that was published in December — that would deliver greater range to address other potential markets. The vast majority of the company’s resources and talent remain focused on the VoloCity, which Volocopter believes will address 60 percent of the urban air mobility [UAM] market, and that is not expected to change for the next five years.”
Meanwhile, on March 3, Volocopter announced it had raised an additional $241M (€200M) in an “oversubscribed” Series D funding round, bringing its total capital raised to $390M (€322M). The funding will be used to bring its two-seat VoloCity air taxi to certification and accelerate the launch of its first commercial routes.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, an early investor in Volocopter (and owner of Terrafugia, as well as Volvo and Lotus), plans to bring Volocopter’s air taxis to China. According to ThePaper.cn website, the CEO of Geely’s general aviation subsidiary, Wofei Changkong Technology Co. (also translated as Aerofugia), said that operations in China could begin in 2024 under a joint venture between the two companies (controlled by Wofei Changkong), with China’s CAAC accepting Volocopter’s airworthiness certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), once approved. On April 19, Volocopter and Geely displayed the Volocopter 2X at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition 2021.