Is Terrafugia the latest acquisition of Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely?
According to the South China Morning Post, Geely, fresh from its acquisition of Lotus, has agreed to buy the American flying car startup. One of the newspaper’s sources said Geely, which controls Volvo and Lynk & Co and has a major stake in Proton, has been looking to acquire Terrafugia since 2016.
Terrafugia was formed in 2006 by a group of engineers at MIT. Their goal is to develop a vehicle able to meet the requirements for the FAA’s Light Sport Aircraft classification and double as a practical road car. (A pilot’s license for Light Sport Aircraft is relatively simple and inexpensive to obtain, as it requires only 20 hours of logged flight time.)
Terrafugia’s design, known as the Transition, features a two-seat cabin and a foldable wing. The latter will allow the Transition to easily fit in a standard car lane, and unfolding the wings can be achieved in under a minute.
The Transition is promised to deliver a 400-mile flying range and a top flight speed of 100 mph. While it still requires a runway for takeoff and landing, Terrafugia has a more advanced design known as the Transition TF-X that promises vertical takeoff and landing and even better performance.
Terrafugia is currently accepting $10,000 reservations for the Transition. The company has pushed back its deadlines on a number of occasions though at present is promising the Transition for delivery in about three years and with a starting price of $279,000.
As cities become more congested, more and more companies are entering the race to develop safe, reliable and relatively affordable flying cars. Geely isn’t even the first automaker to be associated with flying cars. Toyota already has a skunk works team working on the concept.