Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely says it plans to acquire flying car startup Terrafugia. The acquisition will enable the firm to launch its first flying car product by 2019, called the Transition.
Launched in 2006 by a group of MIT engineers, Terrafugia is based near Boston, Mass. The company has been working on the development of flying vehicles since inception. In recent months the company has been aggressively scaling up its engineering force in preparation of the acquisition from Geely.
The upsized engineering force and Geely’s financial assets are apparently enabling the flying car to potentially become a reality. The firm says it plans to rollout a production version of its first product in 2019. Called the Transition, the two-seater vehicle will have foldable wings that will enable it to fit within lanes on a highway, but still fly when needed.
Of course, details on this are rather imperative, but still fairly scarce. What we do know is that the Transition is going to carry a price tag of about $279,000 and offer a range of about 400 miles with a top flying speed of about 100 mph.
The company is already working on a second version of the Transition called the Transition TF-X. This variant will be capable of vertical take-off (like a helicopter) and not require a runway for landing.
If there’s any skepticism regarding this futuristic tech, Geely’s employee roster for Terrafugia is very robust. The company has recruited former managing director of Bell Helicopter, Chris Jaran to run Terrafugia, while company founder Carl Dietrich is staying on as the company’s CTO.
Geely isn’t the only automaker looking into flying vehicles. Daimler AG and Uber are both actively investing in the space as well.