This just in. Volocopter, a privately-owned German aircraft manufacturer, revealed that it has raised 50 million euros (RM230 million) in the first closing of its Series C funding round, the bulk of which came from Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also bought another flying car maker Terrafugia in 2017. Currently, Volocopter’s total capital raised is 85 million euros.

The new funds will be used to bring the VoloCity air taxi (pictured above) to commercial launch within the next three years. VoloCity is a 700-kg two-seater electric aircraft with a maximum payload of 200 kg, offering 35 km of range and is capable of flying at up to 110 km/h. Its lithium-ion battery pack (provides juice to 18 onboard motors; the aircraft has 18 rotors) is swappable, and doing so requires only five minutes.

Now, a second closing of the Series C funding round is expected to take place at the end of the year. Volocopter is already in advanced discussions with strategic and financial investors and remains open to new investors. Further funding will be used towards receiving commercial certification by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) for the VoloCity air taxi.

Since being established in 2011, Volocopter has built three generations of Volocopter aircraft, two of which were licensed for manned and unmanned flight with a total funding of 35 million euros (RM161 million).

The company has also performed numerous public demonstrations of the viability of electrically-powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), whereas a recent test flight at the Helsinki International Airport proved that its aircrafts are compatible with existing air traffic management solutions. The company will go on to present its VoloPort air taxi landing infrastructure at the ITS WC in Singapore next month – the event is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Economic Development Board.

Company CEO Florian Reuter said: “Urban mobility needs to evolve in the next few years to meet rising demand. With our Volocopter air taxis, we are adding a whole new level of mobility in the skies. This funding round is allowing us to take great strides towards bringing Urban Air Mobility to life whilst being respectful of our shareholder’s money.”

Meanwhile, Geely has also agreed to enter a joint venture wit Volocopter to bring Urban Air Mobility to China. Geely Holding chairman, Li Shufu said: “Geely is transitioning from being an automotive manufacturer to a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies.”

“Our latest cooperation with Daimler, building on our partnership in smart and premium ride-hailing services, as well as our joint venture with Volocopter underlines our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services,” he added.

Geely is also a privately-owned automotive conglomerate with brands such as Geely Auto, Volvo Cars, and Lotus in its portfolio. As of now, Geely becomes a minority investor in Volocopter, next to existing strategic investors like Daimler. Volocopter’s founders, Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel (both individual shareholders) jointly remain the company’s largest shareholder.

Daimler’s chairman, Ola Källenius, said: “We are delighted to see our partners at Geely investing into Volocopter and becoming shareholders as we are since 2017. Daimler is committed to supporting innovative new mobility services. One exciting example is Volocopter and the idea of urban air transport.”