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FAA grants airworthiness certificate to flying car prototype

July 3, 2023
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given testing certification to a vehicle that Alef Automotive, a California-based startup, identifies as a flying car. This is the first full electric vehicle capable of both road travel and flight to get U.S. government approval. The vehicle, called "Model A", is drivable on public roads, parks like a regular car, and has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.

Model A Features: Alef Automotive's "Model A" is a unique vehicle with multiple functionalities.
  • It can be driven on public roads and parked like a regular car.
  • The vehicle possesses vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.
  • It can carry one or two passengers and has a road range of 200 miles and a flying range of 110 miles.

  • Pricing and Delivery: The innovative vehicle comes with a considerable price tag.
  • The company intends to sell each unit for $300,000.
  • The first delivery is expected by the end of 2025.

  • FAA Certification: The FAA's certification grants limited permissions to Alef Automotive.
  • The issued special airworthiness certificate allows for limited use cases, including exhibition, research, and development.
  • While several companies are developing all-electric VTOLs (vehicles with takeoff and landing capabilities), Alef's vehicle stands out for its ability to operate both on roads and in the air.

  • Restrictions and Future Steps: The vehicle comes with a few limitations and further approval requirements.
  • The flying car is certified as a "low-speed vehicle," meaning it can't go faster than approximately 25 miles per hour on a paved road.
  • Alef still needs approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to operate on roads.

  • Development and Pre-orders: The development of this vehicle has been in progress since 2015.
  • Inspired by the "Back to the Future" movies, four friends founded Alef to develop flying cars.
  • The company conducted an initial automated test flight in 2018 and flew a full-size prototype the following year.
  • Earlier this year, Alef accepted refundable pre-orders for more than 400 of the vehicles.

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