China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is conducting subscale demonstrator flight testing of a new eVTOL aircraft for urban air mobility, the Terrafugia TF-2A.
Geely acquired the Massachusetts-based flying car company Terrafugia in 2017, subsequently establishing a research and development team in China focused on urban air mobility. According to a Geely communication, published on Jan. 9 in Chinese, Terrafugia started research and development of the TF-2A in 2019 with the full support of Geely Technology Group, and flew a scale model in mid-December. The press release includes an embedded video of the aircraft in flight.
The fully electric, winged aircraft is made from mostly composite materials, Geely said. It uses eight lifting propellers for vertical take-offs and landings, and a single propeller mounted at the rear of the cabin for forward flight. The scale model has a wingspan of 4.5 meters (14.8 feet), a maximum take-off weight of 60 kilograms (132 pounds), and a cruising speed of about 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour).
The full-scale aircraft will also be fully electric, and is targeting a payload of 200 kg (440 lb.) — sufficient to carry two passengers with luggage, according to the press release. It will have a maximum range of 100 km and a cruising speed of 180 km/h (111 mph), enabling trips both within cities, and between adjacent cities.
Geely said the aircraft is being developed with the aim of achieving certification for commercial operations. The company envisions initial applications in emergency response and special logistics, gradually transitioning to aerial tourism and, ultimately, urban air transport. The company also expects the aircraft to eventually transition to autonomous flight.
On Jan. 14, Terrafugia told eVTOL.com that Geely’s announcement on eVTOL development was “intended for internal communication,” and that the company would provide “more information when appropriate.”
This story has been updated with comment from Terrafugia.