Xpeng Motors has just unveiled its future plans, at the 2020 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which began over the weekend. The company got bolstered by its $1.7 billion New York stock sale last month.
Amongst these plans are a drone-like vehicle called the Kiwigogo, which is equipped with eight turbofans and can carry two passengers and levitate up to 82 feet (25 meters).
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Say hello to the Kiwigogo
The Kiwigogo is developed by Xpeng Heitech, which is majority-owned by the carmaker’s founder and chief executive He Xiaopeng. Founded in 2014, the company has just begun exporting vehicles to Europe.
At the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, the company outlined its future plans, which include the development of a flying car to create new avenues for its research into mobility and electrification.
— Xpeng Motors (@XpengMotors) September 26, 2020
“This is a long-range R&D exploration for us to really think about mobility in a greater context,” Brian Gu, vice chairman and president of Xpeng, told CNBC in an interview at the Beijing Auto Show on Saturday.
“We think in the future not only electric vehicles will have the smart mobility autonomous driving features, but with other technology, enable other devices that can create a multi-dimensional ecosystem, that will be very exciting,” Gu said. “That’s why we are investing in that area and doing some exploration.”
An early prototype
The plans set up Xpeng as more than just a Tesla clone and instead, a competitor as the company aims to branch out into various forms of electric mobility.
Though the Kiwigogo project is in the concept phase, and what was shown at the Beijing Auto Show was an early prototype, Xpeng Motors says it will evaluate the prospects of releasing such a vehicle and then make a decision as to whether to proceed with substantial investment.
This may depend on UAV regulations, which are very strict for the relatively new and untested concept of human-carrying drones for public transport.