HT Aero, China’s flying car startup raises $500M

Chinese electric-vehicle startup Xpeng introduced a flying car startup HT Aero. It has raised $500 million as part of a new round of funding as it pushes to popularize its technology. The company says it plans to mass-produce by 2024.

HT Aero, an Xpeng-affiliated company, said the fund is the largest venture funding round for a startup in Asia’s passenger flying vehicle sector to date.

Details and Plans

EV maker Xpeng Motors led the Series A funding round, along with Chinese venture capitalists IDG Capital and 5Y Capital.

A number of other new investors also jumped on board, including Sequoia China, Eastern Bell Capital, and GGV Capitals. HT Aero saw its valuation rise above $1 billion before the investment.

The Guangzhou-based aviation startup plans to use the proceeds to develop a new version of its flying vehicles. They plan these to be for both low-altitude air travel and road driving, scheduled for release in 2024, founder Zhao Deli said in the press release.  

“The investment in HT Aero will further accelerate the build-up of our ecosystem to integrate driving and flying,” Xpeng chief executive He Xiaopeng said.

ht aero 1 HT Aero, China’s flying car startup raises $500M

Past Ventures of HT Aero

In June HT Aero unveiled its latest electric passenger drone, Voyager X2. It featured a flight time of 35 minutes and a maximum speed of 130km per hour (around 80mph). Yet the company has no plans for mass production of the two-seater flying vehicle prototype, for now. Caixin (in Chinese) reported this on Wednesday, citing a company representative.

The technology is still at an experimental stage, making market valuation difficult. Morgan Stanley estimated the global autonomous urban aircraft sector to be worth $1.5 trillion in a report published in May 2020. However, they cut this figure to $1 trillion earlier this year.

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