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Chinese Tesla competitor unveils plans for flying car

Xpeng released designs of the flying car, pictured, taking flight above The Alps.
Xpeng released designs of the flying car, pictured, taking flight above The Alps.

Chinese electric vehicle company Xpeng has unveiled designs of what could be the world's first flying car.

More than 500 companies are reportedly working on similarly designed vehicles, and roughly two-dozen are already in testing phases. Xpeng, considered to be a rival to the U.S. brand Tesla, shared designs of the full-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVToL) flying car at its fourth annual Tech Day in Guangzhou, China, on Oct. 24. The electric car, according to the company, completed a maiden flight and several tests.

"Driven by our vision of 'tech for the greater good' and customers' evolving demands, we continue to reach technical breakthroughs and set new industry benchmarks," Xpeng chairman and CEO, He Xiaopeng, said at the event.

In videos made available to the public, a prototype of the flying car can be seen mid-flight before landing back onto the ground. An additional teaser video of the model shows propellers, which resemble a helicopter's wings, situated on top of the car extending outward before retracting back.

The eVToL flying car is designed to resemble a normal car when in driving mode. The steering wheel and a right-hand gear lever are used to control it once in the air and in "flight mode."

The flying car is just one of several breakthroughs the company shared during its Tech Day. Xpeng also shared other advancements in driver assistance technology and robotaxis.

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Giulia Heyward
Giulia Heyward is a weekend reporter for Digital News, based out of New York. She previously covered education and other national news as a reporting fellow at The New York Times and as the national education reporter at Capital B News. She interned for POLITICO, where she covered criminal justice reform in Florida, and CNN, as a writer for the trends & culture team. Her work has also been published in The Atlantic, HuffPost and The New Republic.