With the increasing development of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) “air taxis,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that automakers are moving into the field. This week, Volkswagen Group China unveiled its own effort, in the form of the V.MO.
Its name an acronym for Vertical Mobility, the aircraft is also known as the Flying Tiger – it was launched in the Year of the Tiger, and its black-and-gold paint job pays homage to the big cat’s black and orange coloration.
The existing functional prototype measures 11.2 m long by 10.6 m wide (36.7 by 34.8 ft), and features eight horizontal rotors for vertical lift along with two rear vertical pusher props for forward flight. It was created via a partnership between VW China, UK design firm tangerine, and Chinese aviation manufacturer Sunward.
According to tangerine, the style, format and layout of aircraft were “heavily influenced by intensive user research with over a hundred high-net-worth individuals across China.” The V.MO is aimed at that same demographic, members of which could use the eVTOL to fly between various Chinese cities.
Plans call for the current model to make several test flights later this year, after which an improved prototype will be the subject of test flights conducted late next summer (Northern Hemisphere). Volkswagen China states that the final commercial model will be fully autonomous, and capable of carrying four passengers plus luggage over distances of up to 200 km (124 miles).
“Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech-savvy Chinese customers,” said Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China. “The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel.”
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