With electric cars having very nearly become mainstream, entrepreneurs, engineers and dreamers around the world are quickly latching on to what they hope will be the next frontier in personal transportation: flying cars.
The latest car-cum-plane is from Slovakian enterprise AeroMobil, which recently revealed its new design at Top Marques Monaco, a showcase for luxury products of all kinds.
From the front, AeroMobil’s latest prototype looks like a 1990s minivan concept with a body that tapers to a rear riding on skirted, pylon-mounted wheels.
Transformation from car to plane takes less than three minutes, with the wings swinging out and the propeller deploying at the rear.
Propulsion comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre flat-four engine making 300 horsepower that drives the propeller directly, but an electrical generator sends the equivalent of 110 hp to electric motors to drive the front wheels in road-going mode.
The manufacturer says its creation can cover 750 km in the air on a full 90-litre fuel tank, while a 4.5 L/100 km fuel consumption estimate in car mode promises an optimistic-sounding 1,800 km of driving range.
If you want to take to the skies, it’s time to raid the piggy bank: When AeroMobil opens its order books later this year, as it has promised to, early adopters will be signing up for a vehicle that will cost as much as CDN $1.6 million.
AeroMobil certainly isn’t the first company with a plan to market a flying car. In March of this year, we told you about the Liberty, a car-helicopter hybrid designed by the Netherlands’ PAL-V(); and in summer 2015, Terrafugia revealed drawings for the TF-X, a future flying car pitched at a promising $400,000.
Even AeroMobil itself has been here before, with a previous iteration of its flying car design that crashed with inventor Stefan Klein at the controls; he was uninjured in that incident.