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GM surprises with Cadillac eVTOL air taxi at CES 2021

More of a personal aircraft or drone than a flying car, GM plans to leverage its on-road EV technologies to get airborne.

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GM is the latest automaker to investigate the nascent electric air-taxi business.

General Motors
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

General Motors is telegraphing that it, too, plans to join the burgeoning eVTOL air-taxi business -- and the company plans to do it in style. As part of its virtual CES expo, GM Exhibit Zero, the automaker on Tuesday revealed renderings and animations of a Cadillac-branded personal aircraft powered by batteries.

The sleek, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft would be GM's first foray into aerial mobility, and the company says this four-rotor aircraft is powered by a 90-kWh battery to deliver speeds of up to 56 mph. Beyond that, details are scarce -- GM stopped short of offering more technical details, let alone committing to production or detailing a time frame in which we can expect to see these eVTOLs, as they're known, in the air. Based on the images, this looks like a single-seat drone, presumably for short urban hops executed autonomously.

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GM is the latest automaker to look skyward and consider pursing the air taxi business. In fact, on Tuesday, crosstown rivals at FCA announced a partnership with Archer to build eVTOL air taxis. Other automakers, like Hyundai and Aston Martin, have also staked out claims in this new mobility space. Rapid advancements in batteries, electric motors and cloud-based services for electric cars and trucks have helped make forays into electric personal aircraft seem more plausible. GM's heavy investment into its Ultium EV hardware program looks like it could help pay big dividends here. 

It isn't immediately clear if GM has a functional eVTOL prototype at this point, or what the next step is in the development of this new business for GM.