The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (owner of Volvo Cars) has acquired Terrafugia, a US-based developer of flying cars.
Why? Who knows – perhaps it has too much loose money in its sofas.
Since its inception in 2006, Terrafugia has demonstrated internal-combustion engine prototypes, which are a combination of car and plane. The market introduction of those are expected as early as 2019.
In the longer term, Terrafugia aims to produce the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) – TF-X, which is equipped with plug-in hybrid power-train. Range is expected at over 500 miles (800 km).
After the acquisition, Terrafugia has become a fully owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. And as a result, Geely is now committed to making the flying car a reality.
…but we won’t get too excited until we see it on the lot of our local Volvo dealer.
“Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five award-winning graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since its inception, the company has made considerable progress towards realizing its vision of bringing a new form of mobility to the world, and delivered a number of working prototypes. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to the market in 2019, with the world’s first VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying car being made available by 2023.Under the terms of the agreement, Terrafugia will remain domiciled and headquartered in the United States of America, and continue to focus on its existing mission of developing flying cars. Terrafugia will also benefit from the Group’s significant expertise and track record of innovation within the global auto industry.”
Terrafugia TF-X spec:
Range: 500 miles (800 km)
Cruise Speed: 200 mph (320 km/h)
Engine Fuel: Unleaded automotive gasoline
Electric Motor Pods: 1 MW of power
Dimensions: The TF-X™ will fit in a single car garage or standard parking space.
Takeoff and Landing: The TF-X™ will be able to take off and land vertically from a level clearing of at least 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.
Certification: Flying the TF-X™ will require substantially less training time than a traditional pilot’s license or sport pilot certificate. Driving the TF-X™ will require a standard US driver’s license.
Pricing: The price will be consistent with high-end luxury cars. More specific pricing information will become available as we progress in the development of the TF-X™ program.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Founder and Chairman Li Shufu said:
“The team at Terrafugia have been at the forefront of believing in and realizing the vision for a flying car and creating the ultimate mobility solution. This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so. Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality.”
Terrafugia’s newly appointed CEO, Chris Jaran, said:
“After working in the helicopter industry for over 30 years, and the aviation industry in China for 17 years, Terrafugia presents a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a fledgling but enormously exciting industry. The support that Geely has pledged to make Terrafugia’s vision of a flying car a commercial reality is unprecedented, and I assume this role with full of confidence for the future, with our first priority being the expansion of the company’s R&D capabilities.”
Terrafugia founder and CTO Carl Dietrich said:
“We started Terrafugia with a vision to change the future of transportation with practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom. Now as part of Geely Holding Group I am confident that we can reach that vision and subsequent commercial success by utilising the Groups shared global synergy.”
The ICE prototype: