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Volocopter raises $182m on route to flying taxis

Volocopter raises $182m on route to flying taxis

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty



German startup Volocopter has raised an additional $182m to commercialise its electric air taxi.

This is the second part of its Series E funding round and will carry the company beyond the certification of its electric passenger aircraft after ten years of development and over 1500 test flights.

The funders include NEOM, the Red Sea’s regional development project and GLy Capital Management of Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Chinese car maker Geely and brings the total raised to over $780m. Volocopter expects to launch its first commercial air taxi routes in the next two years in Singapore, Rome, Paris, and the NEOM region. 

“Attracting NEOM And GLy as investors is a great success and highlights our pole position in the commercial certification race. This is the key requirement to launching commercial operations and starting to generate revenue,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter.

It is the first and only electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) company to receive Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Last month, the company conducted the first crewed eVTOL public test flight in Italy at Fiumicino’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.

 The demonstration was a key milestone toward the envisioned rollout of advanced air mobility (AAM) services in Rome by 2024, with the partners having initiated operations of the first fully functional vertiport in Italy.

Volocopter’s test pilot aboard the electric Volocopter 2X flew 40 km/h for 5 minutes at 40 meters height along a “figure 8” flight path after receiving all the necessary clearances from the Italian authorities, the civil aviation authority (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile – ENAC), and the provider of air traffic control services (Ente Nazionale Assistenza al Volo – ENAV).

The vertiport is developed in compliance with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) “Prototype Technical Specifications for the Design of VFR Vertiports for Operation with Manned VTOL-Capable Aircraft Certified in the Enhanced Category” and is located within the regulatory sandbox approved by ENAC.

It is designed to host various types of tests for both flight and ground operations (turnaround, battery charging, etc.), with an electric system devised to allow testing of various eVTOL charging technologies (battery swaps, fast charging, etc.). The infrastructure, occupying an area of ​​about 5,500 square meters, has been sized to ensure compatibility with the main eVTOLs that will be certified in the coming years and consists of: a final approach and takeoff area (FATO) for landing and takeoff operations; a parking area; a covered hangar measuring 20 x 20 x 6 meters; various rooms, including an office, a warehouse, and an area for battery charging.

GLy is backed by Geely Holding, a long-term partner of Volocopter. In their joint venture, Geely and Volocopter aim to bring UAM to China. With its high density of megacities, China is expected to become one of the largest markets for electric air taxis.

“Volocopter’s vision encompasses industrial short- and medium-range commercial passenger applications to bring efficiency to the way we move around our cities,” said Hrvoje Krkalo, Co-CEO of GLy Capital.

www.volocopter.com

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