In October last year, Tim Draper, one of Tesla’s earliest investors, invested $3 million USD in the flying car project of Alef Aeronautics. And now, the project has achieved its first milestone as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted operational approval to Alef Aeronautics’ Model A aircraft.This means that the Model A will become the first flying car model to legally operate and take off on the road.
However, this does not mean that the car can take off anytime and anywhere. The FAA has issued a “special flight certificate” for the Model A to regulate and limit specific locations where the vehicle can take off. The Model A is an all-electric prototype, and its takeoff mechanism does not require a runway. It follows a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) approach similar to a helicopter. The vehicle’s operating range will be 321 km on the road and 160 km in the air. Since the vehicle takes off and lands vertically, contrary to what we might imagine, it does not require wings.
Currently, there is no specific information available about the technical details of the vehicle or the locations where the car can transition from driving to flying. However, these locations will certainly not be close to airports, highways, or urban traffic areas.
Furthermore, as the Model A is an all-electric prototype, if it becomes commercialized, it will be tested first in states with mild and non-extremely cold winter weather. We all know that winter greatly affects the performance of electric vehicles.