Will eVTOLs and flying cars be the future of transport?


In October 2022, Alef Aeronautics revealed that it had developed Model A, an electric flying vehicle with eVTOL capabilities, packed with a driving range of 200 miles and a flight range of 110 miles. The design, a combination of a flying and driving car, is meant to seamlessly integrate into the existing urban infrastructure, allowing for driving and parking with added elevation. On June 27th, 2023, Alef Aeronautics announced that it had received a Special Airworthiness Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, marking the first time a vehicle of this nature has received legal approval to fly from the US Government.


There is a growing interest within the automotive industry to develop flying cars, and concepts for eVTOL vehicles have emerged. Some of these concepts have made progress in terms of design, technology, test flights, and certifications. The goal of flying cars is to provide an alternative form of private transportation in the air, aiming to alleviate land traffic congestion and reduce travel time.


It is apparent that building these private air vehicles requires considerable time, resources, funds, and effort. On top of that, these air vehicles must meet a series of certification requirements. But some questions remain: will there truly be a future for flying cars? What updates have readers seen regarding private air vehicles? Or will eVTOLs and flying cars remain in the design, testing, and hopeful production phases?

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of Alef Aeronautics | read the full story here



Switchblade tests its flying car prototype


A few of the flying cars and eVTOLs introduced over the last couple of years are now in the testing phases. For instance, Samson Sky’s Switchblade has conducted a series of tests on the prototype of its flying car at out-of-town airports in early 2023. The road-legal vehicle, which can transform into an aircraft in under 3 minutes, underwent various checks, including long hops and experimentation with different flap settings for the shark-fin design attached to the rear of the flying car (Switchblade is strictly a flying car).


In April 2023, Samson Sky mentioned that they still had a couple more adjustments to make, so they decided to bring the Switchblade prototype back home before conducting further tests at an airport. The Switchblade team states, ‘we want to showcase the prototype taking a longer flight before we officially announce it to the world as our First Flight.’ Between January and March 2023, Switchblade consistently provided updates on the progress of its flying cars for its fans.

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of Samson Sky | read the full story here



Xpeng x2 flies over dubai for the first time


While Switchblade is still keeping its first public flight under wraps, XPENG X2, an eVTOL aircraft, made its global debut in Dubai on October 11th, 2022, in front of over 150 attendees, including officials from the Chinese Consulate, Dubai International Chamber of Commerce, and Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism. The vehicle took its flight at Skydive Dubai and showcased its fifth-generation design. The recent update on the eVTOL includes an enclosed cockpit, tear-shaped design, and sci-fi appearance, which the company claims enhances the flying car’s aerodynamics for optimal in-flight performance.


XPENG AEROHT, the affiliate team of XPENG responsible for creating XPENG X2, announced that it will reveal the significant R&D progress of the sixth-generation flying car, including its configuration, exterior design, and air driving method, during the 1024 XPENG Tech Day later in 2023. Since its unveiling in 2022, the design team has remained silent about the recent timeline for the eVTOL’s market release. It appears that XPENG X2 is still awaiting flight certification and is undergoing flight tests and technical checks to determine its suitability for private air transport.


Update on June 30th, 2023: In an Instagram post on June 7th, 2023, XPENG AEROHT shows that it took XPENG X2 on air again for a long-distance flight test in the Tengger Desert. The tech team writes that ‘this demanding environment sets higher standards for product stability and sandstorm resistance.’

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of Xpeng Aeroht | read the full story here



LEO Coupe partners with an aerospace manufacturer


Other flying cars and eVTOLs may still be awaiting their flight certifications and making progress in their technical development. On February 17th, 2023, LEO Flight Corporation announced its partnership with aerospace manufacturer Eagle Technologies with the aim to revolutionize the future of transportation and introduce the eVTOL LEO Coupe, a three-seater flying car propelled by a jet turbine.


The LEO Coupe is envisioned as a fully electric flying car designed for personal ownership. In a comment on its Instagram post, the LEO Flight Corporation states that it regularly posts development and prototype flight test videos on its YouTube channel. As of publishing this story, the team’s most recent video was posted on December 7th, 2022, showcasing a test flight using the skeletal model of the flying car.

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of LEO Flight Corporation | read the full story here



ASKA and Airspeeder Mk4 follow a timeline


Some eVTOLs and flying cars have their own timelines for various reasons, including ASKA, a street-legal flying car that aims to take off in 2026. Since Next Future Mobility (NFT) announced its plans to build a flying car in 2019, it has been developing ASKA, which is the Japanese term for ‘flying bird,’ to become a private transport. Currently, ASKA A5’s development and flight testing are being conducted in accordance with the certification guidelines set by the FAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The target for commercialization of ASKA A5 is still set for 2026, pending certification.


Meanwhile, Alauda Aeronautics has already completed over 350 test flights for its remotely-piloted Mk3 before unveiling the Airspeeder Mk4, dubbed as the world’s first high-speed, manned flying race car. This race car-shaped aircraft is expected to be powered by hydrogen and the company claims that it will be the fastest eVTOL in the world. On February 21st, 2023, the design team announced their plans to hold the first crewed races in 2024. As of publishing this story, Alauda Aeronautics has yet to unveil the finalized and tested model of the Airspeeder Mk4, with several months remaining before the end of the year.

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of ASKA | read the full story here

flying cars evtol
image courtesy of Alauda Aeronautics | read the full story here



project info:


companies: Alef Aeronautics, Samson Sky, XPENG AEROHT, LEO Flight Corporation, ASKA, Alauda Aeronautics