HT Aero is building a flying car in the same way it builds cars. Instead of making an airplane drive on the ground, it's making a car that can fly at low altitude.

(Image credit: HT Aero)

HT Aero, a technology unit majority owned by Motors (NYSE: XPEV, HKG: 9868) and CEO He Xiaopeng, is expected to see significant progress on a new flying car prototype this year.

"I expect to finish the mule car this year that can fly low and also drive like a car with the ability to fold and morph," He said in an interview with several local media outlets on Saturday.

"This is the ninth year of HT Aero and many people feel it is far from true production, and we felt the same way three or four years ago," He said, according to the text of the interview published by Auto Time.

HT Aero is building the same way it builds cars, which instead of having an airplane on the ground, it's making a car that can fly at low altitude, he said.

"With this change in logic, we find that the likelihood of mass production of flying cars, and the resolution of safety, and policy control issues, increases dramatically," he said.

Early last month, He mentioned that for the past eight years, the HT Aero team's main focus has been on flying vehicles. However, now and for many years to come, the team will shift its focus to the integration of flying vehicles and cars.

"Flying cars will be an offshoot of cars in the future, and for the first few years they will mainly fly at ultra-low altitudes of 7-10 meters," He previously said.

On July 16 last year, He announced the launch of the fifth-generation flying vehicle X2 via Weibo, saying "this marks another step closer to a more widely available and safe flying car."

At its annual Tech Day event on October 24 last year, XPeng unveiled the sixth generation of HT Aero's flying car, marking a realignment of its exploration in the field. It is a vehicle that can both drive on land like a normal car and fly in the air.

He said at the time that the company aims to have the flying car in mass production by 2024, with a price tag expected to be under RMB 1 million ($157,000).

"We never make concept cars or cars that are just for show, all the exploration is to bring them to mass production and change our lives in smart mobility," He said previously.