CAPTION: A volocopter (air taxi) is exhibited at the Internet conference "re:publica".
German car manufacturer Daimler and the Chinese major shareholder Geely are extending their cooperation to air taxis. The Chinese company is joining the German air taxi company Volocopter via a financing round, the companies announced on Monday in Frankfurt before the start of the IAA motor show.
Daimler has invested in the start-up company since 2017, which is developing helicopter-like flying taxis with electric engines. The aircraft will be used primarily in congested and smog-stricken megacities, including China. "We are pleased to see that our Geely partners are investing in Volocopters," said Daimler CEO Ola Källenius.
Volvo's parent company Geely and Volocopter also intend to set up a joint venture in order to “bring air mobility in metropolitan areas to the important Chinese market.”
Geely acquired a 9.7 percent stake in the Daimler Group in February 2018 and thus became the largest shareholder in one fell swoop. Since then, the Germans and the Chinese have been examining how they can best work together.
From around 2022, Geely will develop and manufacture the new electric models of Daimler's Smart small car series in China, and there are also plans to cooperate with a luxury travel agent in the People's Republic. Geely boss Li Shufu said that the most recent cooperation also built on these projects.
Led by Geely, Volocopter raised 50 million euros in the closed financing round. The company from Bruchsal in Baden-Württemberg has now raised a total of 85 million euros from investors to date. The founders remain the main shareholders. Volocopter wants to raise more money towards the end of the year. Over the next three years, the company plans to make its first model fit for market.
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