The concept of a flying car has been a popular image in sci-fi fiction for decades. Seen as a sign of the future, vehicles that take to the sky are something that manufacturers have been working on for almost as long as the idea has been around. As of the Geneva Motor Show 2018, the world’s first commercially available flying car has been unveiled. Called Liberty, the car looks like a cross between a gyrocopter and a modern three-wheeled Bond Bug.
Off to a flying start
The Liberty is the brainchild of Dutch manufacturer PAL-V, who’ve been working on the prototype for a number of years. The Liberty makes use of a gyroplane engine and retractable propellers that are attached to a sports vehicle kind of body. It possesses two engines for road and aerial manoeuvrability. The road engine is capable of pushing the car to a top speed of 100 mph. In the air, the Liberty can move at a speed of 112 mph, being able to cover 311 miles in between fuel stops.
PAL-V claim the car is certified to fly under the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration, complying with all road safety regulations as well. To pilot the Liberty you’ll need a flying licence. The suggested place to fly it is on a small airfield, as it takes between five to ten minutes to convert from driving to flying mode. The Liberty is also suitable for longer travel, with PAL-V confirming that it can be flown in tumultuous weather.
Ready for take off in 2019
The Liberty will be available in 2019 and PAL-V are taking pre orders from interested parties. Two versions can be purchased: The Pioneer model that features a unique interior and exterior, and the sports edition. PAL-V CEO Robert Dingemanse gave a statement on the car. “Once full certification is granted in 2019 we will hand over the keys of the PAL-V Liberty to our first customers.”
Flying cars have received a lot of attention lately, with many startup companies like Ehang and Volocopter marketing electric versions. These versions are more closely related to drones because of them being powered by electric batteries. A lot of people are even hesitant to use ‘flying car’ as a moniker, preferring evTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing)
The Liberty can be considered a genuine flying car because of its design. The future is here and it looks promising for automobiles.