Aerospace firm reveals plans for hybrid-electric flying car (video)

9 May 2013

The TF-X hybrid-electric flying car. Image via Terrafugia

Last year, US aerospace company Terrafugia unveiled its street-legal flying car known as the Transition. That flying car won’t be available for at least another two years, but the company has now set its sights on pioneering a plug-in hybrid-electric flying car.

Based in Woburn, Massachusetts, Terrafugia announced details of its first flying car prototype called the Transition last year. The two-seater personal aircraft has folding wings and will be capable of driving on roads and motorways and flying in the air using unleaded automotive fuel, according to Terrafugia. The vehicle’s first test flight was carried out in March 2012.

The winged flying car is now nearing production, according to Terrafugia, and could be available in 2015. The flying car has a price tag of around US$279,000 and apparently has had more than 100 orders placed for it already.

Terrafugia's prototype of its Transition flying car pictured leaving a garage in Massachusetts. Image courtesy of Terrafugia

Terrafugia’s prototype of its Transition flying car leaves a garage in Massachusetts. Image courtesy of Terrafugia

As for the company’s plans for its next flying car, Terrafugia has started feasibility studies of the TF-X, a four-seater plug-in hybrid-electric flying vehicle.

Unlike the Transition, the TF-X would not need a runway for take-off but would be able to take off vertically from a level clearing of at least 100 feet in diameter. The vehicle would have twin 600 hp electric motor pods.

Terrafugia said the vehicle will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging into electric car charging stations.

Development of the vehicle is expected to take between eight and 12 years, however.

“This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition development,” Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich said in a statement.

Learn more about the TF-X in the following video.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic