Terrafugia, a Volvo owned company will put their flying car, Transition on sale in 2019. The first batch of the hybrid-electric vehicle which has been in development for some years will be available to the public in 2019.
‘Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way. We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience. Among the improvements are a hybrid-electric motor, upgraded seats, more luggage storage, improved seat belts, airbags, rear-view cameras and a new parachute system, as well as ‘boost’ mode, which gives ‘a brief burst of extra power while flying.’ Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran said in a statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration certified the Transition as a Light Sports Aircraft in 2016 thus making it legal. While it is unclear how much the phone will cost, the hybrid electric motor will include a traditional internal combustion engine and also a lithium phosphate chemistry battery.
The Terrafugia Craft which is a light sports craft weighs around 1300 pounds, has folding wings and fixed landing gear. The sitting space in the car is meant for only two persons; the pilot and a passenger. The aircraft can fly as high as 10,000 feet and reach a speed of 100 miles per hour when flying and one needs a pilot’s license in order to use the Transition. The pilot’s license requires 20 hours of training.
The car-plane can land in small airports and be driven home by pilots as it can also be landed in highways and transitioned into drive mode. Volvo’s acquisition of the firm in 2017 has been termed as the catalyst that sped up the development of the cars.
Information on the Company’s website reads;
Each individual component is engineered with safety and quality as the objectives behind each design decision. The Transition® improvements will include:
- Hybrid-Electric Motor – The Transition® will now drive in hybrid mode, using a combination of an internal combustion engine and a LiFePO4 (Lithium iron phosphate chemistry) battery – proven to be much safer than other lithium battery chemistries.
- Boost – The throttle incorporates a boost feature for a brief burst of extra power while flying.
- Interior – The interior is remodelled with upgraded seats, an attractive and intuitive user interface experience, and increased luggage capacity.
- Safety – Updated safety systems include: improved seat belts, airbags, and increased visibility with three rearview cameras in drive mode.
- Partners – Terrafugia is partnering with state-of-the-art suppliers for avionics and parachutes. Dynon is providing the EFIS (Electrical Flight Information Systems) and BRS is providing a full frame parachute system.
As a unique automotive vehicle and a light sport aircraft, the Transition is built for both aviation and automotive safety to comply with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration) standards. The new features will enable the Transition to meet all the necessary requirements while optimizing the flight experience for both pilot and passenger.
The first Transition car prototype was built and flown in 2009, and the second version which followed in 2012 was built.
Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Geely, parent company of Volvo, said:
‘The team at Terrafugia have been at the forefront of believing in and realizing the vision for a flying car and creating the ultimate mobility solution. This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so.
‘Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality.’
For those who want to learn more about the Transition vehicle, it will be at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI from July 23-29, at Booth D17 in the UAV Tent in Aviation Gateway Park. Be there to see the Transition in person.
Enjoy a video of the Terrafugia transition below.
Terrafugia has also developed several models and the TF-X stands out amongst them. The TF-X is said to have a cruising speed of 322 mph and a flight range of 805 km flight range. The TF-X has foldout wings with twin electric motors at each end. The Terrafugia TF-X is also planned to accommodate four persons, can move from a vertical to horizontal position. The car is also powered by 300 hp engine.
According to plans, the TF-X will be autonomous and computer controlled so passengers can type in the destination before taking off. The TF-X being autonomous can automatically avoid other air traffic, restricted area, bad weather and tower-controlled airspace.
Rolls Royce, Airbus and Uber are also planning to work on flying cars which they plan to bring to fruition in 2020. The ad video of the TF-X can be found below.