EHang expects to receive Chinese type certification for its autonomous EH216 eVTOL aircraft around the middle of 2022 and to become the first advanced air mobility company in the world to launch revenue-generating flights. The company’s new COO, Xin Fang, told a March 29 conference call that when the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issues the airworthiness certificate, it will gradually expand production of the two-seat vehicle and initial commercial operations in several Chinese cities that it will announce when the approval is granted.
As part of its 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative, EHang’s operations team conducted more than 4,000 flight trials with the EH216. The group’s founder, chairman, and CEO, Huazhi Hu, also reported that the larger, longer-range VT-30 model has logged more than 50 flight test hours and achieved initial sales to customers in Japan and Malaysia.
“Airworthiness certification for the EH216 is our top priority and we have made remarkable progress,” he told investment analysts, adding that EHang now claims more than 1,000 sales for the aircraft. Last month, CAAC officials confirmed the special conditions for type certification, and EHang says it is now engaged in the compliance-review phase of the program. The company has submitted to the aviation safety agency its project-specific certification plan and the certification plan establishing its means of compliance.
According to Xin, sightseeing operations will be among the first revenue streams for the company’s EH216 flights, along with emergency applications such as firefighting. He said that EHang is seeking to confirm partnerships with leading tourism groups in China, with nine operating sites identified, and also with emergency response companies.
For 2022, EHang forecasts annual revenues of between RMB 190 million and RMB 210 million (up to $33 million), with most of this anticipated to be received in the second half of this year. In 2021, when the company prioritized work on bringing its new products to market over short-term sales, its revenue was RMB 56.8 million ($8.9 million), which was significantly less than the 2020 total of RMB 180.1 million. It reported a gross profit of RMB 20.8 million ($3.3 million), compared with RMB 73.9 million in 2020.