A vehicle described as a flying car by a California startup has received certification for testing from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), making it the first fully electric vehicle capable of both flying and traveling on roads to be approved by the US government.
Dubbed the “Model A” by Alef Automotive, this innovative vehicle combines the features of a car and an aircraft. It can be driven on public roads, parked like a regular car, and has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. It is designed to accommodate one or two occupants, with a road range of 200 miles and a flying range of 110 miles.
Alef Automotive plans to sell each vehicle for $300,000, with the first delivery expected by the end of 2025.
The FAA has confirmed that it issued the company a special airworthiness certificate, granting limited permissions for exhibitions, research, and development.
While Alef is not the first company to receive a special airworthiness certificate for this type of aircraft, according to the FAA, the company emphasizes that its vehicle stands out due to its ability to function on roads and in the air, resembling a regular car, and being able to park in standard parking spaces.
“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 one small step for planes, one giant step for cars,” said Jim Dukhovny, the CEO of Alef.
According to the company’s website, the flying car will be certified as a “low-speed vehicle,” meaning it will have a maximum speed of approximately 25 miles per hour on paved roads. The company stated on its site that if drivers require a faster route, they can utilize Alef’s flight capabilities.
However, the vehicle still requires approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to operate on roads.
- Presidential Election Tribunal: Tinubu Presents Admission Letter from Chicago University, Alongside Other Accomplishments
- Shehu Sani’s Advice to Tinubu: Choose Probing Rather than Appointing Ex-Political Office-Holders
- Mmesoma JAMB Controversy: Joint Probe Initiated by JAMB and Anambra Government on Mmesoma’s Result
The development of this vehicle began in 2015, initiated by four friends—Constantine Kisly, Pavel Markin, Oleg Petrov, and Dukhovny—who were inspired by the “Back to the Future” movies that envisioned the availability of flying cars in that particular year. Motivated by this vision, they formed a company with the aim of developing such vehicles.
The company reported that in 2018, an initial automated test flight of a basic version of the car was successfully conducted, followed by a flight of a full-scale prototype the following year. However, Alef stated that it required the FAA’s special airworthiness certificate to continue its essential research and development.
Earlier this year, the company also announced that it had received refundable pre-orders for over 400 vehicles, with general queue reservations priced at $150 and priority queue reservations priced at $1,500.