Dull? No – Volvo says its cars will be f lying in just 2 years
FOR years it was best known for building safe but boring cars.
Now Volvo is promising to make the dream of never being stuck in traffic jams a reality.
It aims to bring the first flying car to the US market in 2019 and the world’s first vertical take-off and landing vehicle in 2023.
Volvo’s parent company, China-based giant Geely, has bought the flying car development company Terrafugia which sees Britain as a key market.
Since it was formed by graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006, Terrafugia has been developing flying cars and built several working prototypes.
Li Shufu, chairman and founder of Geely, said: ‘Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia... to make the flying car a reality.’ A driving licence will suffice for the firm’s newest design, the concept TF-X, which is expected to cost £180,000 in 2023.
It has fold-out wings, will cruise at 200mph and has twin electric motors at each end. The motors will allow the vehicle to take off vertically from the street or from a typical driveway. Pilots will tap in where they want to go into a computer and have the final say on whether it is safe to take-off or land. Terrafugia’s ‘street legal airplane’, called Transition, was approved last year by the Federal Aviation Administration in the US to be certified as a light sport aircraft.
It has two seats, runs on unleaded petrol, and is designed to drive like a typical car and to fit in a normal garage. But it also has fold-out wings, converts into flight mode in less than a minute and has a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet.
As well as seat belts and airbags, the cars will have parachutes and a safety cage and the driver will need a pilot’s licence.
Would-be buyers are being invited to pay £7,600 deposits before its 2019 launch.
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