PROTON’S GEELY BUYS 'FLYING CAR' COMPANY TERRAFUGIA
There have been plenty of tech companies who have joined in the race to buy flying car companies, as this heralds the new market of small, road-legal vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft hybrid cars. But just recently, an actual automaker has joined in the race as well. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, who owns Volvo, Lotus and has a share in our own Proton, purchased a US-based flying car company, Terrafugia.
Terrafugia came out with the prototype, the Terrafugia Transition, a type of light, propeller-driven plane that can also be driven on the road in 2014, and this recent acquisition will mean a lot more in that context. The company plans to market the first flying car less than two years from now. The upcoming model, dubbed TF-X is planned to have two tilt-rotor engines mounted on short wings that will be able to fold out from the main body. Planned to be fully electric, the TF-X will be able to take off and land vertically from virtually any solid surface.
"This is a tremendously exciting sector, and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so," said Geely founder and chairman Li Shufu. "Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision, and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality."
"The average pilot spends 30 minutes stopped on the ground between parking his/her car at the airport and finally taking off," Terrafugia says in its mission statement, referencing its upcoming folding-wing car-plane. "With the Transition, that stopped time is just the 40-second conversion, plus the preflight inspection. The Transition will beat high-performance GA (general aviation) aircraft on decision-to-destination metrics for average trips up to almost 200 miles because the user will spend less time stopped on the ground planning a flight, shuffling flight bags and warming up the aircraft."
What do you think? Do you think Geely might just introduce a brand new flying Proton into the mix? Leave a comment below!