Tesla Rival's Flying Car Makes Its Maiden Flight

Xpeng's X3 was unveiled late last month, but it's got competition
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2022 10:04 AM CDT

A Chinese electric-vehicle manufacturer that's considered a Tesla rival has driven its first flying car out of the garage and into the sky, and its unveiling is spurring buzz across the eVToL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) landscape. NPR reports that Xpeng held its annual Tech Day on Oct. 24 in Guangzhou, China, and at the event, the company whipped out designs of its new X3 prototype, developed by its Aeroht division.

Xpeng said the 2-ton X3—described by New Atlas as an "absolutely nutty-[looking] ... luxury electric sportster with a fold-out vertical-lift octacopter system on the roof"—had already driven and flown on its first maiden voyage (check out video here), and that the vehicle was designed to "fly over traffic congestion, obstacles, and rivers to meet a new host of short-distance mobility needs," per Insider. That outlet notes that, thanks to tech and regulatory roadblocks, it's been a challenge across the industry in getting eVToLs up in the air, perhaps first as air taxis in congested cities or as add-ons to airlines for shorter flights.

But that hasn't stopped hundreds of companies from making plans for their own flying cars, and around two dozen of them already are in testing mode, per NPR. One such competing prototype: Alef Aeronautics' Model A, which the Robb Report describes as the US' "first flying car that actually drives like a car and flies like a helicopter." It'll apparently cost us, however, to zip around in the sky like the Jetsons: Alef says its vehicle—which will be on "presale" early next year and is set for first deliveries in late 2025—will be priced at around $300,000. (Check out video of the Model A here.)

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