The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

EHang Targets Domestic eVTOL Aircraft Deliveries as Chinese Type Certification Approaches

The Chinese government’s long-awaited lifting of Covid restrictions in late December has helped EHang to accelerate work to complete the type certification of its two-seat, EH216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle. Presenting results for the 2022 financial year on March 23, senior executives with the Guangzhou-based company said they are in “the final sprint” to achieving type certification with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) with 90 percent of tasks completed and more than 70 percent of remaining tests conducted or in progress.

EHang founder, chairman, and CEO Huazhi Hu told analysts that the company’s commercial strategy will prioritize sales and deliveries to customers in China and efforts to enter other Asian markets. “In 2023, we are getting well positioned to leverage China’s tourism and economic recovery, growing market demands, and our imminent inflection point into commercialization with keen anticipation for obtaining the world’s first autonomous eVTOL type certificate to unlock an exciting new era for the UAM [urban air mobility] industry that EHang is leading,” he commented.

With several production-conforming EH216-S models already built, and more on EHang’s manufacturing line, the company said, it has completed conformity inspection. The remaining tasks include compliance and laboratory testing, ground tests and inspections, flight tests, and data analysis, followed by the compilation of test reports for review by the CAAC. The company said it has conducted more than 34,000 flights with its eVTOL vehicle in 12 countries.

EHang’s reported order backlog now includes more than 100 aircraft that will be the first to be delivered to domestic customers once the CAAC issues the type certificate. The company said that early commercial operations will be launched in China’s Guangxi, Hunan, Anhui, Shandong, Jiangxi, Xinjiang, and Guangdong provinces. Among the initial Chinese customers are Xiyu Tourism and Xi’an Aerospace Investment Co. Hu reported that EHang has had strong support from the national and local governments in China to secure a favorable regulatory environment for introducing its aircraft.

Nick Yang, a recently appointed independent director and early investor in EHang, told financial analysts that the company’s current manufacturing facility in Yunfu has sufficient capacity to meet the timeline for delivery of the current backlog of orders. During 2022, the company delivered 21 EH216s prior to the completion of type certification, for which Yang said completion is now “only a matter of time.”

For the 2022 financial year, EHang reported revenues totaling RMB44.3 million ($6.4 million), which was 22 percent less than the RMB56.8 million reported for 2021. The group’s adjusted operating loss increased by 3.8 percent last year to reach RMB207.1 million.