China's EHang has published its financial report for the third quarter of 2021 and briefed the main news - the national regulator may issue a type of certificate for the two-seat air cab EH216 in a few months. Receipt of this document will mean that the EH216 air cab will be allowed for commercial production and operation. If this happens, uncrewed air cabs will be the first in the world to serve passengers in China, and it will happen soon.
In general, two-seat vehicles EH216 with a payload capacity of 260 kg and a flight range of 35 km at a speed of 130 km/h have been conducted in more than 20 thousand accident-free test flights in different weather conditions. Separately, under seven national test programs, there were made 2,800 flights with passengers on the short sightseeing routes. In addition, EHang is working with the air traffic control centers to develop and test methodologies for guiding uncrewed air cab flights.
The absence of pilots on board would free up precious space for a second passenger so that the operating costs will be immediately reduced by half. At the same time, there will still be the pilots: they will be able to control the machines remotely, if necessary. Live pilots will accompany Airtaxi flights under similar American and German programs in the first years. If this keeps going on, the Chinese will stay ahead of other countries in the latest urban air mobility services' introducing for up to five years. It will be challenging for others to catch up with them on this path.
As for the financial side, EHang's work is still generating net losses due to the absence of a stable commercial component. For example, in the reporting quarter, the company incurred a net loss of $11.2 million. However, it also demonstrated some revenue - $2 million in the third quarter. The production of EH216 increased from 3 units in the second quarter to 8 ones in the third. With a design capacity of 600 machines per year, the company's new plant helped in this. No one in the whole world can boast such a scale of production and testing of air cabs - and this is an experience that is hard to overestimate.