This may be the decade of the biggest evolution in the automobile industry. Starting with full-size, full-range electric cars, and then self-driving cars by Tesla, Google, and soon Apple. And it's not over, yet. As of now, you can pre-order your first flying car...
This time, the first player is not even from the US. AeroMobil, a Bratislava, Slovakia company will likely be the first in the world to sell a flying car. The price tag? $1.3 to $1.7 million. Each. A little more than a Tesla... In fact, it's a lot more than a general aviation airplane.
And speaking of Tesla, Elon Musk was quoted saying that he didn't believe there if a future for flying cars. No doubt that there are challenges ahead, but a decade ago very few would have believed that we will be driving full size, pure-electric cars with a range comparable to gasoline cars, let alone that we will be passengers in self-driving cars. Yet, we are. To be fair, Musk's objection is to flying in locations such as downtown Manhattan, with high building and traffic density. However, rural flying is much more likely first use of the flying car.
Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil said in a company press release at the Top Marques Monaco, the world's most exclusive supercar show: "Today is a transformative day for the future of travel as the launch of the AeroMobil means and that everyday flying transportation will soon be a reality," .
AeroMobil was established in 2010, with the vision of building a flying car. In 2014, they completed building the third version, and the version that is now offered for pre-order is the fourth. Version 3 took its test flight in 2015 (see the video below).
The specifications include:
- 2.0 liter turbo charged 4-cylinder boxer engine
- 110 driving horsepower, and 300 flying horsepower
- Range: 434 miles driving, or 466 miles flying
- Max speed: 100 mph driving, 224 mph flying
- Maximum takeoff weight (including the car, passengers, and fuel): 600 lb.
The flying car is full of safety features, such as an airframe parachute system, airbags, pyrotechnic load limiting seat belts, integral carbon fiber structure, and autonomous flight.
The company will build a limited first production run of 500 flying cars.
Last week, AeroMobil announced that InfraPartners Management (IPM), an Asian investment firm, had made an investment of an undisclosed amount in the company, to help enter the Asian market.
Once again, you see how innovation is inspired by science fiction.
I haven't placed my pre-order yet...