Geely Invests $55 Million In German Flying Taxi Firm Volocopter
Geely Holding Group is heavily investing in the flying transport business with plans to set up a joint venture company to provide air taxis in China. The Chinese firm will be partly funding German flying taxi company Volocopter to help it further develop its aircraft for commercial use.
In its announcement on Monday, Geely revealed that it had led a round of investment that managed to raise around $55 million. The funds will be used to aid Volocopter in the development and production of its commercial aircraft called Volocity.
The flying car, which uses rotors similar to those found in drones, is planned to be commercially released sometime within the next three years. As part of its deal, Geely will be taking a 10 percent stake in Volocopter. Geely also plans to use Volocopter's technology for its joint venture company in China that will provide air taxi service in major cities.
According to Geely Holding Chairman Li Shufu, the investment it has made essentially marks its transition from being a simple automotive manufacturer to being a global mobility technology group. Li also clarified that the Volocopter's technology is the next step in the expansion of both new mobility services and new energy automotive tech.
Volocopter CEO, Florian Reuter, expressed the same sentiments and mentioned that urban mobility will have to evolve in the next few years if it wants to meet the rising global demand. China in particular with its increasing population and horrendous traffic issues will apparently stand to benefit the most from the technology.
Reuter further stated that the funds that Geely has provided should allow his company to make "great strides" in bringing the dream of flying cars to life. The funding it received from Geely brings the company's total investments from outside sources to around $94 million. Apart from Geely, one of its largest investors includes Germany's Daimler AG.
Despite the already substantial amount of investments it has received, Volocopter is reportedly still planning to raise more funds through new investments rounds before the year ends. The company apparently needs additional funds to finance its application for commercial certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Volocopter is currently one of the leading firms that are developing its own flying vehicle concepts. The company, which was founded in 2011, has already gone through three different Volocity prototypes. Two of its vehicles have received licenses for manned and unmanned flights. So far, the company has successfully held various demonstrations of its technology, showing investors the viability of its electric-powered flying vehicles.