Maybe you’ve heard of Terrafugia, an ambitious US company that has set its goal on producing viable flying cars. Now, they’re moving on to blend the concept with a green twist.
While flying cars have been for the most part the stuff of science fiction, today several projects are underway and one, started by MIT graduates is actually close to reality. With a working project of a flying car, called Transition – which is almost ready to begin sales, the company moves further into the future with an already announced advanced design called the TF-X.
In order to make the concept viable, the four-seater car/plane would have increased vertical take-offs and landing capabilities and with a central computer network mostly doing the hard work, the pilot/driver would only need around five hours of flight training – which significantly undercuts the most basic private pilot’s license standard.
“Don’t think of it as a car that flies,” suggested Carl Dietrich, one of the MIT students now serving as Terrafugia’s CEO. “Think of it as a plane that drives.”
The design team has now envisioned the project using a plug-in hybrid powertrain – able to produce 1,500 hp, 600 hp for each electric motor and 300 from a gasoline engine that serves as a generator. With that set-up, it could fly at a 200 mph speed and for around 500 miles – enough for a jump from DC to Boston, or Los Angeles to San Francisco.