EHang EH216-S: China’s Pilotless eVTOL Aircraft

By: | February 22nd, 2024

Image source: EHang

China is preparing to launch certified electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi services transport. With the EHang EH216-S, the Chinese are leading this sector, as they achieved the first Standard Airworthiness Certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in 2023. In addition, the aircraft has already been used for commercial sightseeing flights in Guangzhou and Hefei. Customers were flown over Guangzhou’s Jiulong Lake Park and Hefei’s Luogang Central Park.

The retail price for global markets outside China is very competitive and low in comparison to its competitors, taking into account that it is an eVTOL, and is suggested to be US$410,000 for the two-seat aircraft. It is designed for short distances, with a range of 32 km (20 miles) and a maximum speed of 130 kph (81 mph).

As said by the founder, chairman, and CEO of Ehang, Huazhi Hu, “The low-altitude economy and its related industries present a significant market opportunity for our UAM development and serve as a new engine for future economic growth in China,” adding that “We remain committed to safety in aircraft research, production, operation, and commercial services, which ensures that each of our pilotless aircraft continues to lead in innovation. We look forward to collaborating with more global partners, offering consumers a novel experience of safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility. Our aim is to make pilotless aerial vehicle a common part of everyday life, bringing its benefits to a broader public.

The 2024 Paris Olympics will also influence this sector, as point-to-point air taxi operations are planned and approved by the French Civil Aviation Authority. Aircraft are certified to fly at heights not exceeding 500 meters and carry a pilot and one passenger. However, still unknown are the operating costs and profitability, flight training systems, and consumer acceptance.

Founded in 2014, EHang is headquartered in Guangzhou, China, and is the world’s leader in Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology.

Ashton Henning

More articles from Industry Tap...