SAN MATEO, Calif. — Flying cars are now one step closer to being a reality. A quirky-looking flying road vehicle that costs nearly $300,000 has received legal approval to fly from the federal government. California company Alef Aeronautics claim the Model A would be able to drive on roads but take off into the sky to avoid traffic jams.
The firm announced on June 27, 2023 that they have received a limited FAA Special Airworthiness Certification for their electric vehicle.
“The FAA is actively working on its policies for electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, as well as governing interactions between eVTOLs and ground infrastructure. Alef’s Special Airworthiness Certificate therefore limits the locations and purpose for which Alef is permitted to fly,” a spokesperson for Alef says in a statement.
Alef emerged in October 2022 by unveiling its full-sized sports car model along with two working full-size technology demonstrator cars. They say they have since received strong pre-orders from both individuals and companies.
The company also claims the flying car is 100 percent electric, drivable on public roads, and has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. It would carry one or two occupants.
According to Alef’s website, the Model A is a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) which has legal speed and other limitations in most U.S. states. The assumption is that, if a driver needs a faster route, they would use Alef’s flight capabilities to soar above crowded roadways.
After taking off vertically, it can fly above obstacles “until a desired destination is reached,” the company explains. The driver and the cabin are stabilized by a unique gimbaled rotating cabin design.
“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week. This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars,” says Jim Dukhovny, CEO of Alef.
You might also be interested in:
- NASA flying car crash test yields ‘devastating’ wreckage: ‘Vehicle destroyed beyond expectations’
- This nuclear-powered ‘flying cruise ship’ could stay airborne for years at a time, carrying 5,000 guests
- Best Electric Cars: Top 5 EV Models Recommended By Experts
South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.