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EV maker Xpeng, its CEO invest in air taxi startup

FILE PHOTO: A banner announcing the Chinese vehicle manufacturer XPeng Inc. is seen on the outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the company's IPO trading under the stock symbol "XPEV" in New York, U.S., August 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc said on Saturday that along with its CEO, He Xiaopeng, it has invested in air taxi startup Xpeng Heitech, as the global auto industry explores future mobility.

Air taxis are vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that use electric motors instead of jet engines. Designed to avoid the need for long runways, they have rotating wings and, in some cases, rotors in place of propellers.

Xpeng Heitech is developing electric and vertical takeoff air taxis with a focus on lower altitudes of 5 to 25 metres. Automakers including Toyota Motor, Geely [GEELY.UL], Daimler AG and General Motors are eyeing the nascent industry.

Xpeng, which listed in New York last month, did not disclose financial details of the investment but added it will not impact its core business.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh, editing by Louise Heavens

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