Volkswagen Joins eVTOL Lineup With Passenger Prototype

Volkswagen China Group's V.MO
Volkswagen Group China revealed its four-passenger V.MO prototype July 28.
Credit: Volkswagen China Group

Automotive giant Volkswagen has joined the race to develop electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft, unveiling its passenger prototype July 29 with Volkswagen Group China.

Named the Flying Tiger, the prototype is part of the group’s vertical-mobility project to explore the next generation of mobility solutions, including the urban-air-mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. The project team developed the V.MO as its first validation model.

The aircraft uses existing autonomous automotive driving solutions and battery technology in a tandem-wing lift-plus-cruise configuration with a wingspan of 10.6 m (34.8 ft.) featuring eight rotors for vertical lift and two propellers for horizontal flight. The V.MO is 11.2 m long.

In the first phase of its commercial use, V.MO is likely to be pitched as a premium product for high-net-worth tech-savvy Chinese customers, for example for VIP air-shuttle services. Volkswagen is planning the production design aircraft to be fully electric and automated, carrying four passengers plus luggage up to 200 km (124 mi.).

Several flight tests are planned for this year, leading to advanced test flights by late summer 2023.

“Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design and innovation to the next level by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical-mobility needs of our future tech-savvy Chinese customers,” says Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China. “This is a pioneering project which our young team of Chinese experts started from scratch. They are working with new design concepts and materials while developing new safety standards, disrupting and innovating every step of the way. Our long-term aim is to industrialize this concept and, like a ‘Flying Tiger’, break new ground in this emerging and fast-evolving new mobility market.”

Volkswagen Group China is working on the V.MO with Hunan Sunward Technology, a subsidiary of Hunan-based manufacturing group Sunward. The company specializes in aviation product development, sales and services, and is considered a market leader in the light sport-aircraft industry.

Carole Rickard Hedden

Carole Rickard Hedden was Executive Editor for custom content and Program Excellence for the Aviation Week Network, providing custom content and research to industry executives.