Terrafugia Transition flying car
Terrafugia, the flying car startup company with backing from China’s Geely, has begun taking orders for its first flying car.
Automotive News Europe (subscription required) reported Tuesday that deliveries of the flying car are expected to begin in 2019. The vehicle, called the Transition, will only be sold in the U.S. at a starting price of $279,000. The company has been taking $10,000 deposits for reservations for the vehicle since July.
Terrafugia claims the Transition will be able to switch from driving to flying mode in less than a minute and will fly at speeds up to 100 mph. When in the air, a turbo-4 engine will power the vehicle for 400 miles. On the ground, a hybrid powertrain takes over.
The Terrafugia Transition roadable aircraft
The Transition features a two-seat cabin and boasts foldable wings to make the transition from car to aircraft relatively simple. The company’s goal has been to create a vehicle that meets requirements for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Light Sport Aircraft classification, but can also be used as a practical passenger car, too. The Light Sport Aircraft classification will make the Transition obtainable to those with a specific kind of pilot’s license that only takes 20 hours of logged flight time to acquire.
Geely acquired the Massachusetts-based company in November 2017 and has since promised a flying car will launch next year. Terrafugia first began work on the flying car in 2006.
Terrafugia isn’t alone in the pursuit of a flying car. Oregon-based Samson Sky has also been working on a flying car, which it previously said it wanted to launch this year. The most recent update from the company didn’t specify a launch time, but declared 800 customers have reserved their own Samson Sky Switchblade.
Other companies have focused on VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles in the pursuit of reducing traffic.