Terrafugia, the company behind the Transition car-plane from 2012, is back with a new flying car design dubbed TF-X.
Described as being “the flying car for all of us”, the four-seat TF-X features a plug-in hybrid powertrain which powers both its wheels when on the ground and two electrically driven rotors for flight. It’s capable of vertical take-off and landing, as opposed to needing a runway to become airborne.
Once in the air, the TF-X has a claimed range of 500 miles, although Terrafugia hasn’t specified a cruising speed. The firm’s first model, the Transition, can travel up to 410 miles at a cruising speed of 100mph. The Transition is powered by a 99bhp Rotax aircraft engine that’s capable of returning a claimed 35mpg on the road.
When in flight, the TF-X is effectively autonomous, with its makers saying the car can avoid other air traffic, bad weather and restricted air space and navigate to a pre-specified landing zone - and pre-selected backup landing zones - by itself, although manual controls and overrides also exist. A final landing can only be approved by the driver, and a full-vehicle parachute system acts as a back-up.
Terrafugia says that learning to drive the TF-X is likely to take just five hours, and that the final design “should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile". The vehicle will be able to fit into a standard single-car garage.
The first exterior design for the TF-X was unveiled in 2013, with development to bring the car to production scheduled to last between eight and 12 years. That means the TF-X won’t be on sale until 2021 at the earliest, with Terrafugia saying the vehicle will be priced to compete with current high-end luxury cars.