Chinese automaker XPeng has updated the design of its AeroHT flying car – a luxury electric sportster with a fold-out vertical-lift octacopter system on the roof. It looks absolutely nutty, but a two-ton flying prototype indicates this is no joke.
When we first ran across this machine about 12 months ago, it looked a lot cooler and was also a ton more dangerous. The original HT Aero flying supercar design used a much more compact VTOL system featuring just two electric rotors with large-diameter blades. These were mounted on articulating arms designed to fold away under the car's rear bodywork, making for an exceptionally pretty and sci-fi looking design, albeit at the expense of safety and complexity.
It makes sense that the company has switched things up to an eight-prop system for the latest design – this adds a bunch of redundancy in case something fails. It's much bulkier, though, and as a result the new design looks less like a Minority Report hypercar and more like a luxury electric rally-raider with a massive box on top, as you can see in the render video below.
The dream is the same, though: Xpeng wants to offer a true flying car you can drive around on the highway and then lift off vertically to cruise over traffic jams. Kicked off with a massive half-billion-dollar bank account last year, AeroHT is also working on an eVTOL air taxi design, which has just been flown for the public in Dubai. But that thing is a simple manned multicopter, the likes of which we've seen plenty of times before.