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Tesla's biggest rival in China is all in on flying cars

Brian Sozzi
·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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While Tesla is laser focused on selling Chinese consumers more Model 3s, one of its chief rivals in the country Xpeng (XPEV) is already planning for a future of electric flying cars.

And not only planning for it, putting its money where its mind is at.

This week at the Shanghai Auto Show, Xpeng showed off its electric Heitech flying vehicle. It looks one part snowmobile, one part futuristic helicopter. The vehicle seats one person. 

Xpeng Vice Chairman and President Brian Gu tells Yahoo Finance Live the Heitech is not just a prototype cooked up to wow auto show audiences. Rather, Xpeng plans to produce the vehicle in the not too distant future. 

"So it's intended to be a flying car of the future. We have invested in a separate company that designs and makes flying devices. Now we actually aim to combine the technology of Xpeng with the flying device company to make flying cars. Our intention is to design a car that actually can drive on the road, but it can take off vertically and flying in low altitude scenarios below 100 meters. That's something we actually will try to reach commercial testing by the end of this year, and hopefully we will have something to show the public and allow the public to test drive sometime next year," Gu said.

Added Gu, "I think the initial applications of this flying car will be for hobbyists in certain limited settings. That will be made available towards the end of next year. We think the low altitude economy will be gradually opened by the government in certain municipalities. I see huge potential for that to be used commercially."

A Xpeng P5 car is seen during the 19th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 19, 2021. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
A Xpeng P5 car is seen during the 19th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 19, 2021. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Xpeng also took the wraps off its first family sedan the P5 at the Shanghai Auto Show. Deliveries of the P5 will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. Reservations kicked off on Monday. 

"It has gone very well. Actually it has gone much faster, much better than the P7 launch about two years ago. We are excited about the prospect of the P5," said Gu, referring the early trend in reservations for the P5.

The P5 will play a key role in keeping Xpeng's sales hot this year, which is what Wall Street has come to expect from the China-based EV maker. 

Xpeng said earlier this month that it delivered a total of 5,102 EVs in March, up 384% from a year ago and up 130% from February.

The company's guidance for the first quarter is for deliveries rising 450% year-over-year to 12,500 vehicles. Revenues are expected to increase 533% from a year ago. 

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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