Monday, 23 July, 2018

Group Lotus owner snaps up flying vehicle maker

Group Lotus owner snaps up flying vehicle maker Group Lotus owner snaps up flying vehicle maker
Nellie Chapman | 15 November, 2017, 10:50

While most carmakers-including Geely-owned Volvo-are developing self-driving vehicle technologies in a bid to turn science-fiction fantasy into near-future reality, a handful of smaller companies cling to serious attempts at building flying cars.

According to The Verge, Terrafugia's flying vehicle model, named Transition, a road-ready prop plane with retractable wings, received approval from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012, essentially making it street-legal there.

Meanwhile, founder of Terrafugia, Carl Dietrich, said: "We started Terrafugia with a vision to change the future of transportation with practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom". It's also hiring some big guns.

Chris Jaran, Terrafugia's newly appointed CEO, said the expansion of the company's R&D capabilities would be prioritized, according to Xinhuanet.

The two companies plan to utilise their respective expertise to further the development of flying cars, with Terrafugia already having tripled its U.S. engineering team as part of an expansion ahead of the takeover.

Terrafugia was founded in 2005 by five award-winning graduate engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company expects to deliver it to the market in 2023. It features a 2-seat cabin and a foldable wing. With a 320km/h top speed and a total rage of 800km, the TF-X3 is expected to cost $400,000.

It said it was targeting 280,000 units of the model, to be assembled at the Proton plant in Tanjung Malim, for the Southeast Asian market.

Terrafugia is now accepting $10,000 reservations for the Transition and expects the final price to come in at $279,000.

People may dream of flying cars, especially when they are stuck in a traffic jam.

If Geely's ambition is to beat Uber (and everyone else) to the very prestigious flying auto punch by offering such a service, it may have found the flawless halo to showcase its capabilities.

Over a century later, no one not working for Spacely's Sprockets has made a viable business case for flying cars.

Geely bought the Swedish passenger carmaker in 2010, and the owner of United Kingdom taxi producer The London Taxi Company in 2012.