A new flying car might be the answer to avoiding bumper-to-bumper traffic in the near future.
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted certification for testing to a California startup, Alef Automotive, for their vehicle that can drive on the road and jet-set in the air.
The vehicle, known as the “Model A,” is the first fully electric flying car to receive approval from the US government.
It features vertical takeoff and landing capabilities and can carry a driver or pilot, and another passenger at a time.
With a road-range of 200 miles and a flying range of 110 miles, the vehicle is projected to be sold for $300,000, with the first delivery expected by the end of 2025.
The company’s special airworthiness certificate, issued by the FAA, allows for purposes such as exhibition, research, and development.
However, they’re already accepting fully refundable pre-orders for the first 400 flying cars that come off the line.
While there have been other aircrafts with similar certificates, Alef emphasizes that their vehicle stands apart due to its dual functionality and ability to resemble a normal car while driving and parking.
Alef may be the first company to receive FAA approval, but Swedish competitor Jetson made history when co-founder Tomasz Patan commuted to work in their flagship product.
Last summer, Patan flew into work from his home in Italy, to a satellite location in Tuscany in the Jetson One, their $83k flying car, which boasts eight electric motors.
“Our long-term goal is to democratize flight,” Patan said after the trip. “We firmly believe the ‘eVTOL’ is the future for mass transportation. We are committed to making this a reality.”
Jim Dukhovny, the CEO of Alef, cheekily expressed his enthusiasm over receiving FAA approval, highlighting the environmental friendliness and time-saving aspects of their flying car.
“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week,” he told CNN. “This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars.”
The company’s four founders were inspired to create the flying vehicle by Marty McFly’s time-traveling DeLorean in the “Back to the Future” film franchise.
The company conducted a successful initial automated test flight of a skeletal version of the car in 2018, followed by a full-size prototype in the subsequent year.
Before the vehicle can hit the road, it still requires approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.