Automotive giant Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co Ltd has announced plans to roll out its first flying auto in 2019 after moving to acquire USA start-up firm Terrafugia which specialises in such vehicles.
"The team at Terrafugia have been at the forefront of believing in and realizing the vision for a flying vehicle and creating the ultimate mobility solution", said Li Shufu, Zhejiang Geely founder and chairman. It's also hiring some big guns.
Meanwhile, Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich is staying on as the company's chief technology officer. One of them is PAL-V., a Dutch company that had its design model unveiled by Prince Albert of Monaco during The Top Marques Supercar Show and that recently started the sales of its commercial models for delivery by the end of next year.
The two companies plan to utilise their respective expertise to further the development of flying cars, with Terrafugia already having tripled its USA engineering team as part of an expansion ahead of the takeover.
Chris Jaran, Terrafugia's newly appointed CEO, said the expansion of the company's R&D capabilities would be prioritized, according to Xinhuanet. It features a 2-seat cabin and a foldable wing.
The Transition is promised to deliver a 400-mile flying range and a top flight speed of 100 miles per hour.
It said it was targeting 280,000 units of the model, to be assembled at the Proton plant in Tanjung Malim, for the Southeast Asian market.
Terrafugia is now accepting $10,000 reservations for the Transition and expects the final price to come in at $279,000.
The Chinese auto giants, Geely, have announced that they have purchased flying vehicle developers, Terrafugia.
Francis Kwok Sze-chi, managing director at Freeman Securities in Hong Kong, told NQN: "Demand for "flying cars" is promising in China where traffic congestions are chronic headaches".
It said Terrafugia, which was formed by five graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006, had managed to sell a few units of Transition at US$279,000 (RM1.17 million) each. Toyota already has a skunk works team working on a flying auto.
Geely is the parent company of Swedish luxury brand Volvo Cars, along with the London Taxi Company.