Geely has hedged its bets on a German startup which hopes to bring flying taxis to cities around the world, as the Chinese firm looks to branch out from its traditional automotive business ventures.
The car maker has taken a minority stake in Volocopter, which hopes to bring air taxis to Chinese cities, and said it has raised €50m (£44.8m) from Geely and others.
The startup claims it is building the world’s first manned, electric vertical takeoff air taxis, said on Monday that the other investors in its latest funding round include German car maker Daimler, which has already invested in it before.
It said the deal increased the total capital it has raised to €85m, and that the new funds will go towards bringing its Volocity aircraft to commercial launch within the next three years.
Geely’s chairman Li Shufu said the investment reflected how the Chinese company is transitioning to become a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies.
The co-operation underlines “our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services,” Li said.
Geely is already building a plant in China’s central city of Wuhan to make Terrafugia branded flying cars.
It also bought a 9.7 per cent stake in Daimler in 2018. The companies have said they plan to build the next generation of Smart electric cars in China through a joint venture. They also plan to form a premium ride-hailing joint venture in China.