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German eVTOL Air Taxi Developer Volocopter Secures Key Production Approval With New Acquisition

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【Summary】German aviation company Volocopter has received the necessary approval to produce its two passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with the acquisition of its production partner DG Flugzeugbau, a global leader in composite aircraft construction. Volocopter aims to launch a commercial air taxi service with its eVTOL aircraft.

Eric Walz    Jul 06, 2021 11:00 AM PT
German eVTOL Air Taxi Developer Volocopter Secures Key Production Approval With New Acquisition
The two-passenger Volocity eVTOL aircraft is designed for an air taxi service.

German aviation company Volocopter has received the necessary approval to produce its two passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with the acquisition of its production partner DG Flugzeugbau, a global leader in composite aircraft construction.

With the acquisition of its long-term partner DG Flugzeugbau, Volocopter secures Production Organization Approval (POA) in compliance with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European equivalent of the FAA, to begin production of its electric VTOL aircraft.

Volocopter is the first eVTOL company to attain design approvals from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). 

Volocopter aims to launch a commercial air taxi service with its eVTOL aircraft.

Once the company completes type certification and obtains the required air operator approval in compliance with the EASA, it will give Volocopter a competitive edge over rivals eVTOL aviation startups Lilium and Joby Aviation in the race to make urban air mobility (UAM) a reality in the near future. 

"UAM" is a blanket term for electric air mobility in and around cities. 

DG Flugzeugbau is being transitioned into the new company named DG Aviation. As part of the acquisition agreement, the entire team of DG Flugzeugbau aircraft manufacturing experts will join Volocopter's production and workshop teams. The remaining part of the former DG Flugzeugbau is being transitioned into the newly founded company.

DG's production facilities are located near Volocopter's headquarters in Bruchsal, Germany. It will support serial production of future eVTOL aircraft developed by Volocopter.

Volocopter's production partner DG Flugzeugbau was founded in 1973 is renowned worldwide for the production and development of glider aircraft, as well as composite aircraft manufacturing. The company adheres to the highest safety and production standards according to EASA and the Federal Aviation Office of Germany. 

"At DG Flugzeugbau, we have always continued to strive for perfection through unique innovation with gliders, vast aerodynamic improvements, and, for the past ten years, with Volocopter's eVTOLs. We see the future in these aircraft and are excited to combine a section of our company with Volocopter to invest in the future of sustainable aviation while continuing our tradition of building gliders and maintaining aircraft," said Holger Back, CEO of DG Aviation.

The EASA requires the same safety level that's expected of commercial airliners. Volocopter said its EASA certification is also transferable across global markets, positioning it to launch its UAM services across Europe, Asia and North America.

Volocopter designed and built a two passenger electric helicopter named the VC200 together with DC Flugzeugbau. It was the first electric helicopter to receive a permit to fly in 2016.  

The two companies have since partnered to produce the Volocopter 2X, the electric utility drone called the VoloDrone for cargo weighing up to 200 kg, as well as the VoloCity air taxi.

The VoloCity eVTOL aircraft is built using lightweight composite materials and uses 18 electric motors which are powered by nine rechargeable lithium ion battery packs. The battery packs can be swapped out in about 5 minutes.

The Volocity is also designed for quiet operation in urban areas. Volocopter says that all of the 18 rotors "acoustically operate within a narrow frequency band", so to the human ear, the 18 electric motors only sound twice as loud as one single rotor. 

In Sept 2019, Volocopter announced a 50 million euro ($55.2M) Series C funding round led by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding). Geely is the parent company of Swedish automaker Volvo. Geely joined automaker Daimler AG, which has backed the company since 2017.

Volocopter is aiming to put its two-passenger eVTOL aircraft into service in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024. The company is developing an entire air taxi ecosystem, including aircraft, take off and landing infrastructure called "VoloPorts", and the integration into air traffic management systems.

Volocopter released white paper titled "The Roadmap to Scalable Urban Air Mobility" that details its future plans and eVTOL ecosystem. It available for free here: https://volocopter-statics.azureedge.net/content/uploads/20210324_Volocopter_WhitePaper_Roadmap_to_scalable_UAM_m.pdf

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