Flying Car Company Attracts Big Time Tesla Investor

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Alef Aeronautics is hoping to deliver the $300,000 Model A by 2025.

Alef Aeronautics, a flying car company based in California, has caught the attention of prominent investor Tim Draper, reports Reuters. Draper has provided the company with $3 million of seed capital, explaining why to the news agency.

"I put more [money into the company] when I saw that they had created a small drone prototype that did exactly what they told me it would do...the design is extraordinary. The sides of the car become the wings when the plane goes horizontal."

While that sounds like the stuff of a science fiction novel, it's exactly as Alef Aeronautics intended. This sleek-looking electric car, with a driving range of 200 miles, has been designed to function as a conventional motorcar but take to the skies at a moment's notice, where it can travel up to 110 miles.

Alef Aeronautics

While the concept of the flying car isn't new, Alef's Model A (Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) stands out from the crowd in one particular way. The vehicle takes off and lands vertically, and features a gimbaled cabin design and elevon system. This provides occupants with a smooth and stable in-air experience.

It may look like a support vehicle from the Wacky Races cartoon series, but there's nothing zany about the design. The propellers have been concealed for safety, and the company has fitted the Model A with features such as obstacle detection and avoidance, glide landing capabilities, and even a full-vehicle ballistic parachute.

Of course, there are a number of diagnostic systems, and "triple to octuple" redundancy of key components.

Alef Aeronautics

Projects like this and the recently unveiled Aptera Gamma are often cast aside as vaporware, but the fact that Tim Draper is getting in on the ground floor shows promise. Draper is a big name in the investment community, and he is best known for being one of the earliest investors in Tesla, among other companies.

Whether it comes to fruition remains to be seen, but there's no denying that Model A is a deeply impressive idea. Just taking off is a dramatic, exciting experience - once the vehicle lifts itself off the ground, the cabin swivels as the carbon fiber body flips onto its side and proceeds forward, driven by the propellers.

Alef Aeronautics

Alef is aiming to commence production and deliveries in 2025, with pre-sales opening up as recently as October 2022. $150 nets you a spot in the "regular queue" while $1,500 places you on the priority deposit list. That's a small price to pay when you compare it to the $300,000 price tag - which places it in the same ballpark as many ultra-luxury vehicles.

But a cheaper model is coming, according to the company. Alef is working on a four-seater sedan with a $35,000 price tag. You may want to exercise some patience, as it's expected to arrive only in 2035. "This is not more complicated than a Toyota Corolla," said company founder Jim Dukhovny. "Our goal is to make sure it has the same price point," he said to Reuters.

Alef Aeronautics Alef Aeronautics
Source Credits: Reuters

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