California’s auto startup Alef Automotive has received the FAA’s certification (Federal Aviation Administration) for testing the Alef ‘Model A’ – a flying car prototype. The first fully-electric flying vehicle will need the US government’s approval.
“Designed to drive on the street and take off vertically to fly overhead above traffic, we’re building the solution to modern congestion.”
– Alef Aeronautics website
Alef Automotive aka Alef Aeronautics has confirmed that its ‘Model A’ is a flying car prototype that will be capable of carrying one or two passengers with a range of 200 miles on the road and a range of 110 miles for flying. Equipped with vertical takeoff and landing skills, Alef is expected to deliver the first flying vehicle by the end of 2025, donning a juicy price tag of $300,000.
How The First Flying Car Prototype Came To Life
Inspired by the ‘Back to the Future’ movies which prophesied flying cars, four friends decided to create a company to fulfill the far-fetched dream. Constantine Kisly, Oleg Petrov, Jim Dukhovny, and Pavel Markin have been working on getting the FAA’s certification for their electric flying vehicle ever since it went under development in 2015.
While an initial automated test flight on a skeleton Model A was successful in 2018, with a full-size flying car prototype the following year, the FAA’s certification of special airworthiness was the only way that the company could continue to conduct the essential research for development.
Alef Model A: FAA Certification
Many might consider the FAA Certification to be a green light for Alef’s electric flying vehicle, but it is a special airworthiness certificate which has limited purposes of exhibition, research, and development.
The FAA has rehashed that Alef is not the ‘first aircraft of its kind’ to receive a special airworthiness certificate with several other companies pursuing all-electric VTOLs – vehicle takeoff and landing aircraft.
Nonetheless, Alef considers its Model A to be distinctive owing to its propensity for standing its ground as a ‘normal car’ which can be parked in conventional parking spaces as well.
Alef’s website also mentions that the flying car prototype of Model A will be authenticated as a ‘low-speed vehicle’. With a 25 miles per hour range on a paved road, it is deduced that if the driver needs to hasten the route, they can use Alef Model A’s flying vehicle capabilities.
“We’re excited to receive the FAA’s certification. It’s a step closer to bringing an environmentally friendly and faster commute to people, saving hours for individuals and companies each week. One small step for planes, one giant step for cars.”
– Jim Dukhovny, CEO, Alef Automotive
Apart from the US government’s approval and the FAA certification, Alef’s Model A will also need permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to land on the roads.
The automaker has revealed that it has been privy to refundable pre-orders for nearly 400 Model A flying cars. A fee of $150 is levied for pre-ordering through the general queue whereas the priority queue is expected to shell out $1,500 to pre-book.
The future of EVs is bound to be more surprising and revolutionary than ever, as more innovations come to the fore.