In the near future, you could be whizzing around the sky Jetson style. From this month you’ll be able to pre-order one of the world’s first flying cars.
This 2-seater model, named Transition is made by a company called Terrafugia. Terrafugia was acquired in 2017 by Geely Auto Group, a Chinese multinational that sells cars under brands that include Lotus, Volvo and PROTON.
This car can transform between a road car and a flying car in less than a minute. When in the flying car configuration it can reach a top speed of 200mph (322kmph) and fly for 400 miles (644km). It can reach an altitude of around 10,000 feet, which is much lower than commercial planes and weighs just 1,300lbs.
According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the company will be taking pre-orders on the cars starting from October. No price has been announced yet. The cars are said to be delivered to customers in 2019.
The Transition is a hybrid electric powered car that includes a parachute system, fold-out wings and a “boost mode” aimed at giving you some extra speed while flying. It also has many of the things you’d expect from a normal road car.
While the car is totally road legal, it requires a pilot’s licence to fly, after all, it is basically a car shaped, road legal plane with folding wings. This gives the car a very niche market.
The company believes that the car could be of great use to pilots who can fly it to a small airport, then fold down the wings and drive it home.
After this model, there are plans for a TF-X, a four-door version that they claim won’t require an airport for take-off and landing and will be able to fly 500 miles. They say: “The TF-X won’t require an airport for take-off and landing, and it will drive on all roads and highways – providing the convenience of true door-to-door transportation.”
Chris Jaran, Terrafugia’s CEO, said: “Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way. We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience.”
“Flying cars will effectively tackle traffic woes and will definitely have a huge impact on society, the economy, safety and the environment,” said Zhang Yangjun, with Tsinghua University.
Jaran said that Terrafugia’s next concept, the TF-2, would also be unveiled in October. It is believed that the car will be able to take off and land vertically, come with Wi-Fi, wireless charging and touchscreen passenger controls. It is expected to hit the market in 2023.