Volocopter this week officially opened the hangar that will house the production line for its family of eVTOL aircraft. On April 4, the company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its headquarters in Bruchsal, Germany, to show off the purpose-built facility in which manufacturing equipment is now being installed on the airfield site it uses for flight testing.
Since receiving EASA production organization approval in 2021, Volocopter has been preparing to start assembling its two-seat VoloCity vehicle at an initial annual rate of at least 50 units following anticipated type certification in 2024. The facility will be used to manufacture carbon fiber parts and electric propulsion units, as well as for final assembly. Volocopter is still determining the production plans for its VoloDrone freighter and larger, longer-range VoloConnect eVTOL aircraft, and these should be settled by the end of this year when decisions about the outsourcing of some manufacturing have been finalized.
The ceremony was attended by Germany’s minister for digital affairs and transport, Volker Wissing, along with Anna Christmann, the federal government’s aerospace policy coordinator, and Winfried Kretschmann, a minister in the state government of Baden-Württemberg. During the event, Volocopter conducted a piloted flight demonstration with its 2X technology demonstrator.
“Germany is already a world leader in the development of air taxis, thanks in part to Volocopter’s great pioneering spirit,” Wissing commented. “I would like to support and build on this leading role by creating a framework that enables innovation and progress. We are working with key industry players on a strategy for air taxi operations here in Germany in which all technical and legal issues are addressed without delay.”
Volocopter says it intends to launch commercial air taxi services with the VoloCity vehicle in locations including Singapore, Rome, Saudi Arabia, and Paris. Rival advanced air mobility pioneer Airbus, which is developing its CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft at Donauwörth in Bavaria, is working with multiple stakeholders on plans to start operations in the southern German state.