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Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng displays new flying vehicle at Beijing auto show 

An electric automaker start-up, Xpeng, displayed at the Beijing Auto Show last weekend, the first in a series of electric flying vehicles the new company is developing, reports

With eight propellers and a capsule-like frame, the vehicle resembles a human-carrying drone more than a flying car. The prototype has been developed by Xpeng Heitech, a technology unit majority-owned by Xpeng and CEO He Xiaopeng.

Xpeng stated in a press release that the unit is part of the company’s long term R&D, but its core businesses and development strategy remain unchanged. The company foresees benefits from the research in areas such as precision and mapping technologies. This start-up is backed by Alibaba who’s investing money into flying car technology as part of a long-term strategy.

According to Xpeng, the flying vehicle can hold up to two passengers and is designed for low altitudes of 5 to 25 metres. The project is presently in a concept phase, and the company said it will evaluate the process before proceeding with any substantial investment.

Brian Gu, Vice Chairman and President of Xpeng, told CNBC in an interview at the Beijing Auto Show, “This is a long-range R&D exploration for us to really think about mobility in a greater context.”

He continued, “We think in the future not only will electric vehicles have the smart mobility autonomous driving features, but alongside other technologies, enable further devices that can create a multi-dimensional ecosystem.” Adding, “That’s why we are investing in that area, and carrying out exploration.”

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