It’s something you thought you’d only see in utopian sci-fi movies but later this month the first ever production-ready flying car is due to be shown at the most exclusive supercar show in the world, the Top Marques Monaco.
The vehicle was first revealed as a concept back in 2014 and has been built by AeroMobil, a Slovak pioneering company. The vehicle is fully functional as both an aeroplane and a four-wheel car and is powered by hybrid propulsion with the wings sweeping back against the body when it is in driving mode. The vehicle is alleged ‘production ready’ with motor authority reporting that it has a Rotax 912 four-cylinder air-cooled engine with 100 horsepower and a top speed of 124mph in the air. On the road it can supposedly reach 99mph with a mpg of 35.3. Apart from that, technical details are slightly thin on the ground. However, we expect more details to be revealed closer to the show.
A spokesperson for AeroMobil told The Sun “by combining aero and car functionality in perfect harmony it heralds a new era in efficient and exciting travel, offering users an unparalleled choice of transport on the road or in the air…AeroMobil aims to make personal transportation vastly more efficient and environmentally friendly by allowing significantly faster door-to-door travel for medium distance trips in areas with limited or missing road infrastructure’. So you probably wouldn’t be allowed to literally fly down the M4. It is assumed that the driver of such an innovation would have to hold both a valid driving licence and pilot licence, which makes sense.
There is no word on price but we can safely assume that it will cost you a lot of money. AeroMobil announced last week that they had raised £2.6 million in new funding to help with the production of the vehicle and further developments saw the company suggest they were looking to develop an autonomous version of the vehicle.
However, whether this will project will actually take off (excuse the pun) still remains to be seen. In 2015 the prototype of this vehicle crashed mid-flight and fell approximately 900 feet after what is thought to have been a tailspin. Luckily, the driver was fine and was aided by a parachute that was built into the car to ensure that the driver was safe in the event of an emergency. The vehicle suffered minor damage and Aeromobil said that they used this crash to gather data to further develop the car. So while we’re sure that this particular blip has been solved, it’s safe to say that confidence hasn’t exactly been sky high.
If successful, though, it will have some tough competition as AeroMobil aren’t the only company trying to harness the concept of flying cars and drones. In fact, the most recent concept has been the E-Volo, a vehicle-drone hybrid by German firm Volo. The 2X E-volo is more of a helicopter than a plane, with 18 rotors and enough space for two people. Don’t expect it to get you too far though, the E-Volo has a maximum flight time of 27 minutes and a top speed of 43mph, with a range of just 17 miles. So, maybe not so good for your morning commute but good enough if you wanted to pop down the shops.
Others embracing flying cars include Dubai, who are considering offering a flying taxi service using autonomous drones. It is thought that Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Authority want flying taxis to become a real thing by the middle of this year. Built by Chinese firm Ehang, the drone is called the 184 but has an even shorter range than the E-Volo, in initial testing it had a range of just 2.2 miles. While it’s not a lot, it could prove popular in the busy streets of Dubai.
This flying car won’t be the only flying car on show either, as the Liberty Pioneer and Liberty Sport flying cars from Dutch company PAL-V will also be shown in Monaco. This will be the first time the car will be shown to customers and the public despite the official images of the finished product being released earlier this year. This flying car will be priced at $599,000, with an entry level model being released at a later date priced at $400,000. Pocket change to those looking to buy one of these models. While it is considered a plane, the PAL-V is more of a helicopter and complies with all existing safety standards meaning it’s ready to go as soon as possible.
The Top Marques Show has been called the “world’s most-exclusive car show” and in recent years has played host to mega-priced supercars, a Russian-modded Tesla with humming bumpers and a Hungarian Ferrari powered by a 734 horsepower supercharged V-8. One feature that sets the exhibition apart from the rest is the use of the Formula 1 Grand Prix racetrack to display the cars in action and conduct test drives. Exhibitors included Lamborghini, McLaren, Tesla and Ferrari as well as your odd light aircraft-turned-vehicle. This year looks as impressive and outlandish as you would imagine, with a Classic Bentley Azure covered in diamonds being presented. Yes, diamonds. Steven Saltzman, one of the directors, told hellomonaco.com
“We’ll have for the first time at the Grimaldi Forum, a Bentley that nobody has seen yet, covered completely in diamond paint, made of powdered diamonds. We recently saw a Rolls which had the same treatment, but this will be the first Bentley.” Of course, who hasn’t already seen a Rolls Royce covered in diamonds?
Anyway, AeroMobil hopes that their flying car will meet its first potential customers at Top Marques Monaco and with exhibitions like a Bentley covered in diamonds, we’re sure there will be a fair few potential buyers ready and waiting. Do you think flying cars are the future? Will we one day be getting our takeaways delivered by a flying car? Comment below!