Many VTOLs classify as ‘flying cars’ because they are personal-sized point to point vehicles that use the skies as their medium of travel. However, the Pal-V Liberty and the Terrafugia Transition can drive on the road as well as fly through the air.
Terrafugia, founded by graduates of MIT, has been working on the Transition for over a decade. The Transition’s wings fold to become as flush as possible with the body when the car is on the ground, and unfold for flight. Based in New England, Terrafugia was purchased by Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Geely, in 2017.
Terrafugia has begun taking pre-orders for the Transition, with a price around $300,000. The Transition’s main features include the ability to switch from drive mode to flight mode in under one minute, a range of about 400 miles, and a flight top speed of 100mph. On the ground, the Transition is powered by a hybrid engine with speeds also up to 100mph.
The Dutch company Pal-V’s ‘Liberty; is designed more like a personal helicopter. The Pal-V Liberty has three wheels, and long helicopter blades that fold into its body for its drive mode.
The base model of the Liberty is priced at €299,000, but €499,000 for the ‘Pioneer’ edition, which will be delivered first and will include all the available customizable options. Pal-V started taking pre-orders last month. Similar to Tesla, it is currently taking these orders through a queue reservation system, which requires a minimum $2,500 down payment. The Liberty has a top airspeed of 112mph, and top ground speed 100mph and a 100 gallon fuel tank, which is good for about four hours of flight time.
Both companies will begin delivering to customers in 2019.
Why It’s Important: While both of these vehicles are mainly recreational, they represent great steps for the era of personal aerial transportation. Not only will both these vehicles promote the acceptance of personal aircraft, they have also already struggled with many of the certification obstacles that air taxi VTOLs are currently experiencing.