Have You Pre-Ordered This $300,000 Flying Car?

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SpaceX knows a thing or two about flying, and the company apparently had enough faith in Alef Aeronautics to invest in the flying car startup. Does that mean the startup will succeed? Certainly not. However, it makes my ears perk up a lot more than they would for a flying car startup not backed by SpaceX.

The funny thing is — we’ve written about several electric aviation startups for years, some for a decade, but I don’t recall ever seeing Alef Aeronautics before. Furthermore, it’s very different in its approach to a flying car. Its concept looks like an actual car — well, more like a Jetsons car, but less like a helicopter or small airplane with a bunch of propellers.

The vehicle is indeed an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. It just looks very different from the other eVTOL aircraft. It is called the Model A.

Now, naturally, a flying car isn’t going to be in everyone’s budget. It certainly isn’t in my budget. The expected cost of an Alef Aeronautics flying car is $300,000. Nonetheless, it’s already got 2,850 preorders. That said, you only have to put down $150 for a reservation and it’s refundable any time, so there’s a decent chance many of those reservation holders wouldn’t actually purchase the vehicle for $300,000. On the other hand, I’m not putting down $150, because I know there’s no way I’m going to end up in the market for a $300,000 flying car, so maybe those reservation holders really are planning to buy the vehicle.

If all 2,850 reservation holders did buy the Model A, that’s $855 million in revenue for Alef Aeronautics.

“As of today we have a little bit more than 2,850 preorders with deposits down, which makes it the bestselling aircraft in history, more than Boeing, Airbus, Joby Aviation and most of the eVTOLs combined,” Alef Aeronautics’ CEO, Jim Dukhovny, told CNBC. It’s impressive that the vehicle concept is well above those others, according to Dukhovny, but it’s a little premature to call it the bestselling aircraft in history when those sales haven’t actually been completed yet. Build the flying car and close the sales and then call it the bestselling aircraft in history.

While I have to admit that I’m a bit skeptical about the Model A actually getting built and sold, the part about the company that really makes me itch my head is the “Model Z,” Reportedly, the company is also working on a normal electric car, the Model Z, and plans to bring it to market in 2035. 2035?! That’s more than a decade from now. If they’re really working on an electric car — a $35,000 electric car, by the way — how is the plan to bring it to market in 11 years? That’s a really long time.

Nonetheless, there are people who believe in the company. An early Tesla investor, Tim Draper, is in on the action.

“To drive on the road, the car uses four small engines in each of the wheels, and will drive similar to a normal electric car. It has eight propellers in the front and back of the car, which spin independently at different speeds to allow it to fly in any direction,” CNBC writes. “The Alef Model A has a cruise speed of 110 mph while in the air, while on the road it is limited to between 25 and 35 mph.

“Once it lifts off, the Alef Model A can then turn onto its side while the cockpit swivels so that the driver can continue facing forward and the car practically becomes a biplane with the long sides of the vehicles serving as the top and bottom ‘wings.’”

I’m not optimistic I’ll ever see the Model A gracing the skies above me, but who knows? There are plenty of things that are commonplace today that I never expected or even imagined.

Images courtesy of Alef Aeronautics

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