According to a just-issued press release from US-based (but Chinese-owned) manufacturer Terrafugia, the first production models of its Transition flying car should be on the market as of next year. When and if they do indeed arrive, they will now be sporting a hybrid drive system – among other newly-announced features.
Officially described as a "roadable airplane," the Transition can be flown like a plane when its wings are extended, or legally driven on the road like a car once those wings have been folded into its sides. It's only capable of fixed-wing flight, meaning that it has to take off and land at airports – if you want a flying car that can take off and land vertically, Terrafugia's TF-X and TF-2 concepts may be more to your liking.
This Tuesday, the company announced that when in ground-travel mode, the Transition will be propelled by a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor – the latter powered by a lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack.
Other just-announced features include a "boost" mode that allows the throttle to provide a quick burst of extra power while in flight; a remodelled interior with better seats, an "intuitive" new user interface, and more luggage capacity; updates to safety systems such as seat belts, air bags and rear visibility (the vehicle will now utilize a three-camera rearview system when on the road); and a full-frame emergency parachute provided by BRS Aerospace.
When we last heard about pricing for the Transition, the figure was US$279,000, although the company now tells us that the vehicle currently has no listed price.
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