Shanghai’s TCab E20 eVTOL prototype performs transition flights with 50% – scale demonstrator

TCab Tech, one of China’s leading eVTOL contenders, was founded in May 2021 by Yon Wui NG- who was previously Vice General Manager of Geely Terrafugia responsible for the eVTOL aircraft named TF-2A. Before Geely Terrafugia, Yon spent 10 years with Airbus China Engineering Center whereby one of his positions as Head of Engineering for the engineering centre. 

TCab Tech

According to the company, it has performed many test flights as a part of its validation process for its 50% scale prototype E20 air taxi design in vertical lift and hovers mode, as well as transitions to winged cruise flight.

Yon Wui NG | Founder and CEO of TCab Tech | TCab Tech

TCab E20 demonstrator – tech and specs

TCab E20 eVTOL aircraft | TCab Tech

Touted to be a hybrid between tilt-prop vectored thrust designs like the Joby S4 and lift and cruise designs like Autoflight’s Prosperit, the E20 is a piloted aircraft designed to carry five passengers.

It is a tilt-rotor, high gull-wing, conventional tailplane, and fixed landing gear design. Out of the six rotors, two on the outboard wing and two on the horizontal tailplane can be tilted, the rest of the two rotors on the inboard wing are actually lift rotors with stowable blades in cruise.

TCab Tech

The high gull-wing prevents rotor-hit while passenger ingress/egress of the cabin. The conventional tailplane and fixed landing gear simplify the aircraft design.

Although the overall architecture seems to be less complex, it does compromise top speed and range when compared to designs like, for instance- the Joby S4. According to TCab, the E20 can clock speeds as high as 260 km/h (162 mph). The Joby S4 has hit speeds over 330 km/h (205 mph) in the air.

Joby S4 | TransportUP

E20’s range is reportedly 200 km (124 miles) whereas Joby S4 can hit a maximum of 241 km (150 miles).

Maximum payload450kg
Maximum Range200km
Cruising Speed260km/hr
PropulsionPure electric
E20 |

Apparently, the E20 demonstrator serves as a flight-testing platform for the engineering team to acquire valuable flight test data for early validation of the E20 configuration and design. The company has flown several sub-scale prototypes before-a the 25%-scale demonstrator of the vehicle in August, which had completed hundreds of transition tests by the following month.

Featuring a 19.7-ft (6-meter) wingspan, the demonstrator uses six rotors in VTOL and transits to four rotors in cruise mode. The two lift rotors are switched-off and locked during cruising flights.

TCab Tech

According to the company, dozens of flight tests taking this 50% scale prototype through the tricky process of transitioning to winged cruise flight and back, have been performed.

After months of rigorous tests, the team has established a complete test flight, including route planning, logistical maintenance, inspection and release, and safety assurance.

Additionally, the E20 eVTOL 50% subscale demonstrator will also be used to develop in-house structural and durability test facilities, electric motor test rigs, and SIL and HIL flight simulation labs.

The E20 50% subscale demonstrator completed its maiden flight in December 2021.


COVER: New Atlas

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