Almost finished, but still far away. For flying cars, the technical challenges are just the beginning – rules and laws are what set the propeller in motion.
Is the flying car soon here – or is it just a high-flying dream? During the Electric Car Fair Ecar Expo, Xpeng showed the model X2 which shows what is to come. The aircraft, which in the name of honesty only looks like a drone on a larger scale, has so far logged 15,000 different flight tests in China and the goal is for it to be run in Sweden by the end of the year. Then the X2 will be tested in the air corridor between Skellefteå Airport and Northvolt’s giant facility. A journey that takes 35 minutes by car – but only 5-6 minutes by air.
Although Xpeng has not had more than a few years on its neck, the X2 is the company’s fifth generation of flying craft. The model weighs in at 560 kilos, has seating for two and should be able to transport a total of 200 kg. The flight time is written to 35 minutes, the top speed is 130 km / h and the range is 75 km.
In appearance, the whole thing is very similar to a drone with its four arms with rotor blades.
It may seem like a gimmick that you as an electric car manufacturer also invest in flying cars, but Xpeng sees itself as a technology company and the company’s European director Elvis Cheng, says that a commercial alternative will be offered in a couple of years. Something that then looks more like a car.
But this is corporate talk. Because even if there is a prototype in place in Friends Arena in front of screens that show rendered videos on the cool craft – this is not where the future of the aircraft is decided.
Is the Danish Transport Agency investigating?
On the spot, Ny Teknik captures Teres Lindberg, Social Democrat in the Transport Committee, on the question of how to work with this politically in the committee, she answers.
– We must keep pace with the market. If we believe that there is a broad market, maybe not yet, but in a few years, we need to get the legislation in place.
Have you asked for an investigation of flying cars from the Swedish Transport Agency?
– No. But we think it is important at the general political level. But it is the authorities who follow these questions.
It may seem strange that Sweden, which is a prominent engineering country, with both the car and aerospace industries, does not think more far-reaching in this. Because you only need to look at the other side of our western border to see a big difference. Norway has taken major political steps towards implementing the next generation of aircraft.
– When it comes to aircraft, I assume that Norway is first. They have their own authority for just this, which we are a little jealous of. They have also set a goal that all domestic flights will be electric by 2040, says Teres Lindberg.
But what happens then in Sweden, do politicians keep up with technological development?
– Yes, I think we do. Unlike many other committees in the Riksdag, we are open and invite companies and interest groups. So I would say that we have the tentacles out to see what happens and how we can work to get legislation in place. This applies regardless of vehicle type because they are happening incredibly much right now.
Unclear when the legislation is in place
Ok, when do you think we can have legislation in place, could it be something that happens in the 2020s? Because if you are to keep pace with the market – it must be marched quickly now.
– I can not say when we have the legislation ready. On the other hand, I can say that the more that comes within the area, the harder the pressure becomes. And regardless of political color, there is a will and an ambition to keep pace with developments.
That it can be difficult to reconcile a new type of traffic with things like security, infrastructure and personal integrity is not difficult to calculate. But is there a risk that flying cars will not be allowed?
– I really hope not. Of course, there will be many regulations, it goes without saying. You are not allowed to fly over airports and the like, for example. But it can certainly be solved. It is difficult to imagine what it will be like, but with technical development we can control this in a different way. In the future, you may not need to have a pilot training, but then something else is required, says Teres Lindberg.