Chinese autonomous eVTOL-maker EHang said in the company’s Q3 earnings call on Dec. 3 the company expects to attain type certification of its flagship aircraft from China’s civil aviation regulator in 2021 and begin commercial operations that year.
EHang reported revenues of $10.5 million for the third quarter of 2020, with sales of 23 of its passenger-carrying EH216 aircraft, including two copies of the company’s new EH216F aerial firefighting model. The company’s Q3 research and development expenditure totaled $2.9 million.
Founder and CEO Hu Huazhi told participants on the earnings call that he also expects aircraft production at the company’s new facility in Guangdong, China, to commence in the first half of 2021 with an initial rate of 600 units per annum.
EHang claims to have sold more than 100 copies of its aircraft to date, though it has not shared details regarding customers and their usage of the product. According to Hu: “We have completed nearly 10,000 safe flights worldwide with zero accidents. This is [an] amazing accomplishment for such an innovative passenger-grade AAV.”
Hu said he believes commercialization of urban air mobility (UAM) will be realized “sooner than expected,” and that EHang is well-positioned in the Chinese market due to growing support from the government for the industry broadly and for aerial firefighting drones in particular, citing “strong interest from China’s emergency management and fire departments at all levels.”
He added that EHang has shifted its business model to include operation of its aircraft, characterizing the integrated model as “like Boeing and Airbus providing airline service 100 years ago.”
After EHang management took questions from a few analysts on the Dec. 3 call, the operator declared there were “no more questions in the queue” and ended the call despite at least two participants waiting to ask questions, including this author.