The PAL-V is “the first certified commercial flying car to ever hit the market.” PAL-V’s Liberty edition is a three-wheeled vehicle capable of both driving and flying. In an industry obsessed with Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) taxis and self-driving vehicles, this hybrid car will certainly draw some attention. To be clear, the PAL-V is not an electric vehicle; instead, it relies on regular gas to run its engine both on the ground and in the air.
With a top ground speed of 100 mph and capable of driving 817 miles on a full tank, PAL-V’s performance is certainly impressive. It comes with a retractable top-mounted rotor that lifts it airborne. Once in the air, the PAL-V can go up to 112 mph but requires refueling every 310 miles. As one can expect, fuel consumption is a bit more taxing once airborne.
PAL-V is now accepting pre-orders on its Liberty Pioneer edition. With an estimated 90 cars scheduled for production by the end of 2017, PAL-V is asking for a non-refundable $25,000 deposit on its Pioneer priced at $600,000. The less expensive Liberty Sport edition is priced at $400,000. A $10,000 deposit is required to lock in a 2018 delivery of PAL-V’s Sport edition. The difference between the two editions: the Pioneer includes features like power heating, an electric flight instrument display, and exclusive flight driving.
FlyDrive to Your Final Destination
With a mission to “offer people the most flexible form of mobility and the highest sense of freedom imaginable,” PAL-V wants to “eliminate the key limitations of a car, small gyroplane or helicopter, safely,” according to the company’s website. “We provide our customers with an immediate availability to FlyDrive to their final destination.”
If you’re interested in locking in a pre-order for the PAL-V Pioneer, all you need is a $25,000 deposit, a driver’s license, and a flying license. It’ll be interesting to see how PAL-V stacks up against the all-electric VTOL drones like the Ehang 184, Larry Paige’s Zee Aero, and Joby Aviation’s S2 flying car.
Fierce Competition from Electric VTOL’s
With battery technology estimated to improve by 5-8 percent per year and Silicon Valley determined to get their prototypes airborne, the future of VTOL airplanes seems rather bright. We shall see how PAL-V’s gas-powered FlyDrive vehicle fares against industry elites whose compass appears to be pointing battery innovation.