Cool Stuff: Terrafugia begins studies on hybrid electric flying car able to take off, land vertically

June 1, 2013

Terrafugia Transition

The Transition isn’t yet certified as an airplane and automobile, but already its parent company, Terrafugia, Inc., is looking to the future.

On May 6, Terrafuguia, which is Latin for “escape the Earth,” announced it has begun feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car that will fly at more than 200 mph and further increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation. The plane and car, known as the TF-X™, will include state-of-the-art intelligent systems, fly by wire controls and currently available technology.

“This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition® development,” says Terrafugia CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich. “We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation.”

The new vehicle is an opportunity to provide the world with a new dimension of personal freedom, Dietrich said.

Meanwhile, one year after debuting at the New York Auto Show, the Terrafugia Transition is still at least one or two years away from production. The company already has more than 100 orders for the vehicle, which carries an initial sticker price of $279,000.

Because of its dual nature, the Transition must be certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drive on the nation's roads. However, as an aircraft, it falls under the Federal Aviation Association’s "light sport" category that don't mandate it be certified before it goes on sale. But the FAA will likely audit the company's manufacturing processes and risk-management procedures as soon as Terrafugia begins production, AOL Autos reported.

The certification process is the company's focus right now. Richard Gersh, vice president of sales, said Terrafugia wouldn’t discuss a production date until that's complete, but it's not expected within the next 12 months.

Once production begins, executives say they expect a low volume of production at first, perhaps two to three vehicles per month.