The culmination of more than 10 years of development, numerous iterations, and over 1,500 test flights – or dress rehearsals, the final, full-size VoloCity prototype successfully performed its first flight in Bruchsal, southern Germany, last December.
The VoloCity is a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL), equipped with 18 rotors and 18 electric motors on top of the beam structure that are powered by nine rechargeable batteries. It can carry two people and be flown autonomously, remotely, or by an onboard pilot. The electric air taxi has a range of up to 22 miles (35 km) and a top speed of up to 68 mph (110 km/h), making it well suited to short urban hops.
Volocopter claims the VoloCity is four times quieter than a conventional helicopter, making for a more peaceful ride. VoloCity aims to safely shuttle passengers on emission-free flights throughout urban areas.
“Today, we celebrate a remarkable achievement: the culmination of our aspiration to create a better future in which electric aircraft and emission-free flights are the new dimensions of global mobility,” says the team in a statement. “As Volocopter taxis toward this new frontier, it will make urban flights just a few smartphones clicks away. These moments demonstrate how our pioneering spirit will bring our vision to life before our very eyes. And it’s just the push we need as we enter the final leg of the race to commercial launch.”
The company has already gained permits to fly in crewed or uncrewed configurations for a trial flight in cities such as Hamburg, Dubai, Helsinki, and Singapore. Volocopter has more recently conducted flight tests at Pontoise airfield northwest of Paris in preparation for VoloCity’s 2024 launch date.