Volocopter has successfully completed the first urban flight of the VoloCity air taxi at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, which was the highlight of the two-day “Vision Smart City” event. The move is part of an initiative of a research project by the Technical University of Stuttgart to examine the social acceptance of air taxis.
This comes several days after it was reported the privately-owned German aircraft manufacturer managed to raise 50 million euros in the first closing of its Series C funding round, with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group being one of its major investors. Prior to that, in 2017, Volocopter received an investment of 25 milion euros led by Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, along with a few other investors.
“Our partner Volocopter shows how an air taxi is turning the dream of driving into the dream of flying. At Daimler we work on the mobility of the future too. By 2022 we will have electrified the entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“Our Volocopter air taxis open up a completely new dimension in urban mobility. As Stuttgart has seen today, they fly safely, quietly and are fast approching the implementation stage. Volocopter air taxis are able to ease traffic congestion in major cities around the world, also here in Germany,” added Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter GmbH.
According to the company, the VoloCity is a two-seat aircraft with an operating weight of 700 kg (900 kg maximum take-off mass), which has a payload of 200 kg. The vehicle features nine lithium-ion battery packs that power 18 electric motors driving 18 rotors.
Capable of vertical take-off and landing, the VoloCity has a range of 35 km, and will travel up to a maximum airspeed of 110 km/h. Those battery packs can also be easily swapped out (within five minutes), minimising downtime for charging the vehicle.
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