LONDON – Autonomous aerial vehicle (“AAV”) eVTOL technology platform company, EHang Holdings Limited, has announced a strategic partnership with Qingdao West Coast New Area, one of China’s national new areas in Shandong province.
This partnership comes with a binding US$10,000,000 equity investment and a potential additional investment of US$10,000,000 in the future.
Development of UAM market
Through this strategic partnership, EHang plans to develop its AAV business and the urban air mobility (“UAM”) industry and market in Qingdao with the goal to make Qingdao a world-class UAM application demonstration area.
Additionally, EHang intends to establish a Northeast Asia regional headquarters as well as a national firefighting business center in Qingdao West Coast New Area.
Qingdao West Coast New Area will facilitate the local governments’ applications of EHang’s full range of products while providing comprehensive support to the Company’s local business operations, sales and services, production and infrastructure construction, among other things.
As part of this partnership, Qingdao West Coast New Area’s investment arm will initially invest a total of US$10,000,000 in the Company through a private placement of newly issued Class A ordinary shares of the Company.
“EHang is a global leader in the eVTOL sector ranging from hardware to software. Its AAV products and fleet operations are fully in line with Qingdao’s development requirements for smart, eco-friendly and highly efficient UAM solutions.”
“We believe it will be a ‘win-win’ cooperation with our joint efforts to advance high-end industries and aviation sectors in Qingdao and to create a beneficial UAM industrial ecosystem,” said Guilong Shi, Deputy Director of the Administrative Committee of Qingdao West Coast New Area.
Xin Fang, Chief Operating Officer of EHang, commented, “This strategic investment and business partnership is a significant milestone for EHang’s long-term growth.”
“With more funding and strong product demands in the Qingdao local market, which is estimated to reach the level of RMB100 million in two years, EHang expects to accelerate the development of Qingdao’s AAV industry through new aviation business and low-altitude economy.”
“We believe our cooperation will propel Qingdao to be a world-class, innovative UAM application demonstration area with comprehensive AAV industrial chains and commercial operations.”
EH216 eVTOL progress
In October, EHang reported that its prototype eVTOL AAV was progressing through its type certification trials. The EH216-S is the developer’s passenger-grade autonomous electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle.
Compared with traditional aircraft, the EH216-S is innovative and revolutionary in its structure, configurations, operation modes and flight circumstances.
Because the aircraft does not conform to traditional civil aviation standards, a set of new standards needs to be formulated for the EEV.
To date, there hasn’t yet been any case of an autonomous eVTOL aircraft having obtained the Type Certificate in the world, which would make the EH216-S Type Certification project the world’s first of its type.
In February 2022, the Chinese aviation regulatory body, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) officially issued the Special Conditions for the EH216-S AAV, which provides the compliance basis and safety standards for EH216-S AAVs.
Earlier this month AviationSource reported on the successful completion of the maiden test flight of the EH216-S eVTOL AAV by the Spanish National Police (“SNP”)