Written by Theo Koenig - November 05, 2020
Edited by Kfir Kedem
The world’s first commercial flying car is almost here. Since getting approval for road-usage in February 2020, the PAL-V Liberty has been tested on everyday roads around the Netherlands. The dual-engine, combustion-powered vehicle comes with 2 modes: one for ordinary driving as we know it, and another for flying.
At Auto Trendy we have already spoken about the SkyCab (a flying taxi initiative for transport along major European rivers) as well as SkyDrive (a Japanese, electric air vehicle already in testing), but it seems that the first to the market will be PAL-V. The Dutch company has collaborated with Italian designers to create a vehicle that they hope to deliver to customers in 2022. Currently two PAL-V vehicle editions can be reserved online. The PAL-V Liberty will start at €299,000 and the high-end PAL-V Pioneer Edition, of which only 90 units will be made, will begin at €499,000. The Pioneer Edition distinguishes itself through higher material quality by using carbon parts, and a modified exterior that comes in a variety of colors.
Both “aircrafts” have a 2-person capacity with the possibility of up to 20kg of baggage. Purchase of a PAL-V vehicle comes with a training program to help customers familiarize themselves with the system as well as to prepare for pilot licenses. Users will require both driving and flying license in order to use the vehicles.
A list of requirements that include obstacle clearance as well as take-off distance must be met before the flight mode can be safely engaged. Once these are fulfilled, the rotator blades unfold from the top of the roof automatically, and within 10 minutes users are ready to fly. After landing, users can retract the blades and the 3-wheeled vehicles are ready to hit the road. The only hiccup is that the vehicles are not yet been cleared under flying regulations, however, certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency is expected in 2022.
Auto Trendy’s take:
It remains to be seen whether demand for flying vehicles exists, but the sector is certainly being heavily explored, despite the expensive price-tag. Congested cities and over-worked public transportation mean that users will be looking for a viable solution to these problems, which flying cars certainly offer. However, many roadblocks lie ahead. Beyond convincing customers to obtain piloting licenses, government participation will definitely be necessary, especially if take-off and landing zones need to be implemented throughout municipalities. As well as this, approval from the respective air-transit authorities will be a tough requirement that has to be met. Reducing the fuel consumption levels under flight mode will undoubtably be another. From the looks of it, however, PAL-V appear to be the company with the most straightforward path to making flying cars a reality.