Chinese corporation Geely, which also owns automobile concern Volvo, has recently acquired promising startup Terrafugia, whose experts and engineers are engaged in the development of flying cars, according to the South China Morning Post.
Two years ago, Terrafugia developed a prototype of an aircraft that is a hybrid of a car and an airplane, but before full completion of this vehicle could be realised, the clear need for large-scale investment became clear. This is where Geely, and their seemingly limitless coffers, came in to further the direction and success of this start-up.
While many other companies are experimenting with futuristic concepts, Terrafugia is betting on realism. Their original, first-draft aircraft looks relatively normal for what is an auto-plane – comparable in equal measure to both a light aircraft and small, hatchback car. But their latest creation – the TF-X – steps forward into the future somewhat, and resembles something more of the space age. The TF-X prototype boasts a range of some 500 kilometers, and is capable of reaching speeds of around 130 kilometers per hour.
The aircraft will likely be electric-powered, thus offering green-friendly, environmentally-responsible credentials, as well as near-silent operation. In addition to this, it will offer Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capability, like that of a helicopter, making it able to traverse urban areas with relative ease, and opening-up its possible use in taxi and public transport applications.
Developers are trying to gain a license for their flying vehicle, which means that after all formalities, such as licensing and safety measures are certified, Terrafugia will be able legally free to manufacture and sell this concept, and make a reality of what many have long considered nothing other than fantasy.
Therefore, it may be a little early to know what kind of deal you’d be offered in part-exchange for your current Volvo, if you’re longing to own the TF-X.