The first flying car is here

Will we soon be taking to the skies in our cars?  (Image: Kinwun via adobe.stock)

Will we soon be taking to the skies in our cars? (Image: Kinwun via adobe.stock)

Leonardo da Vinci dreamed of flying as early as the late 15th century, in the 19th century the Parisian department store Au Bon Marché published the first advertisement for a flying car, and by the 1920s more than one person attempted to build the flying car hybrid.

This collective dream of the future should come true thanks to Alef Aeronautics. There is already a first prototype. However, this has two problems.

He neither has a car registration nor is he (until now) allowed to fly.

Big dreams

The Alef Model A aims to be exactly what people dreamed of 100 years ago: a wheeled vehicle that resembles a car but can take off vertically if necessary and continue its journey in the air.

Bild: Alef Aeronautics

Bild: Alef Aeronautics

Recently, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted air test certification for the Alef Model A. The words of Jim Dukhovny, CEO of Alef Aeronautics, were as follows:

One small step for airplanes, one giant leap for cars.

So, will we see the first flying car anytime soon? No, because the Alef Model A will not fly like we imagine, nor is it a real car (even if it looks like it).

But time is getting tight. The company promised to have a flying car ready by the end of 2025.

What is the Alef Model A and what can it do?

We have described the basic principle above. The vehicle itself is more like a small spaceship, with a central capsule that seats two. For aerodynamics, all shapes are curved and the wheels are clad.

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The motor itself is purely electric; under the fuselage are eight propellers that allow takeoff and landing. As soon as the vehicle takes off, the seat capsule rotates so that the pilot is always looking ahead. Of course, parachutes are also on board.

In this clip, the manufacturer shows how they imagine flying their pseudo car:

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How high and how far does the Alef Model A fly? The company did not provide any information about the height, but did provide information about the distance. On the ground, the pseudo car should travel 320 kilometers with one charge, and half that in the air.

More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci made the first notes on aircraft.  (Images: adobe.stock)

More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci made the first notes on aircraft. (Images: adobe.stock)

Here lies the crux

In the course of the FAA certification, Dukhovny said this:

In addition, Alef Aeronautics stated: The first flying car is here.

But is that true?

No. In fact, it’s doubly wrong.

The Alef Model A may only rise into the air as a test. That has nothing to do with flying.

The Alef Model A is also not registered as a car – and will not get one in its current state. The only license the pseudo-car gets is the same as golf carts in the US, and they can’t go faster than 40 km/h.

After all, you can live the future virtually, for example in Cyberpunk 2077 (and the cars in-game drive faster than 40 km/h – I promise):

However, there are people who believe in Alef Aeronautics’ vision. Reuters reported in October 2022 that an early Tesla investor is on board with the Alef Model A. Tim Draper, who also sponsors SpaceX, has put $3 million into the company.

If you also believe in the flying car, you can already pre-order the Alef Model A. Don’t expect a snap, though, as the expected price per plane is $300,000. If you want to be sure of a flyable base, you pay an extra 1,500 US dollars.

The US Army needed titanium for their airplanes during the Cold War and made everyone believe they build pizza ovens:

The flying car was already on everyone’s lips 130 years ago. We know the pictures from the last century: according to the artist, today we only fly to work. Do you think the Alef Model A has a future? Is flying over the traffic jam the solution to being late at work? Or are we observing a pipe burst here? Feel free to write it in the comments.

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