A fully electric car you can drive on public roads and fly to skip traffic may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Alef Aeronautics is making it a reality. The company revealed Tuesday that its flying car, “Model A,” became the first of its kind to receive legal approval to fly from the US government.
Meet the first electric flying car to get certified in the US
The same year Marty McFly from Back to the Future traveled to, well, the future (2015), the idea of Alef’s flying car was also born.
In 2016, the company built its first subscale prototype to fit specific constraints, including driving like a real car, having vertical takeoff abilities, and being relatively affordable.
The scaled version and Alef’s proprietary electric propulsion were shown to Tim Draper, a well-known venture capitalist and early Tesla investor, who became the pioneering investor in the company.
Draper Associates Fund V invested $3 million in seed money to jump-start the program. Last October, Alef introduced the “Model A” to the world as the first electric flying car with real street driving and vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) abilities.
According to Alef, the Model A has a 200-mile driving range and a flight range of 110 miles. After presales began last October for $300,000 (with a $150 regular queue or $1,500 priority queue deposit), Alef says it had collected over 440 reservations by the end of the year.
Alef’s Model A was the first vehicle of its kind to receive a Special Airworthiness Certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration. CEO Jim Dukhovny commented on the accomplishment, saying:
We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week. This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars.
The company says it has been test-driving and test-flying full-size prototypes since 2019. Model A production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, with deliveries starting shortly after.
Alef is also developing additional models, including a four-person sedan, “Model Z,” slated to debut in 2035, with a starting price of $35K. The company claims it will have an over 300-mile flying range with an over 220-mile driving range.
Several other automakers and startups are also working on bringing “flying cars” or eVTOLs to market, such as XPeng. The EV startup’s Aero HT was the first crewed eVTOL to receive a flight permit in China earlier this year.
Image credit: Alef Aeronautics
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