ZeroG (零重力飞机工业), a Chinese eVTOL startup, held a ceremony on October 31 to celebrate the rolling off of its flagship two-seat model ZG-One, a crucial step in the firm’s plan to commercialize its technologies.
At the ceremony, the company, headquartered in Hefei, provincial capital of Anhui, also signed an agreement with a handful of domestic eVTOL-powered air mobility service providers.
According to the agreement, the startup will deliver more than 230 units of ZG-One over a five-year phase, for the buyers to conduct trial operation of eVTOL across various scenarios.
ZeroG will also team up with a host of industrial players to explore resource integration throughout the fledgling eVTOL industrial chain at home.
As China’s air mobility industry increasingly shifts to electrification, the budding eVTOL segment has attracted new entrants.
One of ZeroG’s partners is Lenovo Group, which vows to provide end-to-end support in the manufacturing of Zero One at the corporation’s global factories.
Currently, Lenovo has 30 manufacturing plants worldwide.
A brighter future
China’s eVTOL industry, albeit nascent, has been growing rapidly, driven by the prospect of a bigger role for more environment-friendly forms of transport in the future urban air mobility (UAM) network.
“Currently, the world has a trio of eVTOL giants. One is AutoFlight from Shanghai, another is Joby of the US, and the other is Germany’s Lilium,” said Lin Zuoming, director of Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “ZeroG as an up-and-comer is playing catch-up.”
At the ceremony on October 31, the Hefei branch of China Merchants Bank, a major commercial bank, also struck a deal with ZeroG, providing 3 billion yuan (US$410 million) worth of credit line to supplement the working capital needed for the firm’s operation.
cnrobopedia reported earlier that the startup, founded in March 2021, had raised 200 million yuan across two funding rounds this year.
The firm said it looks to tap into low-altitude aerial tourism as a major use case for its technologies.
A series of arrangements are underway, including test flight, airworthiness certification and commercial operation.
Currently, ZeroG is working on the prototype-to-production process, a major step in advance of launching a bid to obtain the type certificate necessary for commercialization.