SpaceX-Backed Firm Hits 2,850 Preorders for $300,000 Futuristic Flying Car

Alef Aeronautics, a company pioneering flying cars with backing from SpaceX, has announced an impressive milestone: 2,850 preorders for its cutting-edge electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle.

Based in San Mateo, California, Alef Aeronautics revealed that preorder figures surged beyond their previous count of 2,500, securing a fresh record for their two-seater flying car, the Alef Model A.

Interested customers can place preorders for the Model A online, requiring a $150 deposit for reservation. Importantly, this deposit is fully refundable, providing customers with flexibility should they choose to withdraw their reservation.

Alef intends to price the Model A at $300,000 upon its commercial release. With 2,850 preorders in hand, this translates to an accumulated order value exceeding $850 million thus far.

Alef Aeronautics
Model A: A groundbreaking flying car resembling a conventional vehicle. (Credits: Quartz)

CEO Jim Dukhovny shared with CNBC, “As of today we have a little bit more than 2,850 preorders with deposits down, which makes it the best-selling aircraft in history, more than Boeing, Airbus, Joby Aviation, and most of the eVTOLs [electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles] combined.”

The $300,000 price point may appear steep, but Dukhovny explains that Alef, still in its startup phase, requires these funds to sustain operations.

In addition to the Model A, Alef is concurrently developing a four-person sedan, the Model Z, slated for launch by 2035 at a significantly reduced price of $35,000, aligning with the affordability of other electric vehicles in the market.

Alef is among several startups dedicated to realizing the concept of flying cars. Competitors include Joby Aviation in the U.S. and Lilium, a Germany-based air taxi startup. Last year, South Korean telecommunications company SKTelecom announced plans, in collaboration with Joby Aviation, to launch a flying taxi service by 2025.

Supported by prominent figures such as early Tesla investor Tim Draper and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Alef is poised to reshape the future of transportation.

How does Alef’s car work?

Alef’s approach to flying cars differs significantly from others in the market. While many competitors are developing models resembling jets with wings or large helicopter-like rotors, Alef has taken a distinct route with its design.

The company’s showcased Model A car, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in a half-size model, bears a striking resemblance to a conventional car. However, it features a mesh shell protecting internal rotors, facilitating airflow throughout the vehicle.

According to Dukhovny, Alef’s vehicle marks a groundbreaking advancement in the realm of flying cars. He emphasizes its distinction from the drone-like designs prevalent in vehicles from competitors like Lilium and Joby Aviation, noting that Alef’s creation retains the appearance and functionality of a traditional car.

ALEF Aeronautics
Targeting 2025 launch; Alef Model A qualifies as an ultra-light vehicle, easing regulatory hurdles. (Credits: ALEF Aeronautics)

Dukhovny elaborates, “I know that people have claimed the first flying car. But we always had the idea that it has to be a car, a physical car, a regular car, as you can see it’s an eVTOL, an electric car, a regular car, drive, park, look, everything as a car, and a vertical takeoff.”

Primarily designed for road travel, Alef’s car boasts the capability to take flight as well. Utilizing four small engines housed in each wheel, it operates similarly to a standard electric car on roads. Eight propellers positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle can spin independently at varying speeds, enabling versatile directional flight.

With a cruise speed of 110 miles per hour in the air, the Alef Model A maintains road speeds between 25 and 35 miles per hour. Upon liftoff, the vehicle can pivot onto its side while the cockpit swivels, allowing the driver to maintain forward-facing orientation. This transformation effectively converts the car into a biplane, with the elongated sides assuming the role of top and bottom “wings.”

Targeting a launch in 2025, the Alef Model A, weighing 850 pounds, falls under the classification of ultra-light vehicles, placing it in the same legal category as small electric vehicles such as golf carts.

Dukhovny highlights this classification as potentially streamlining the regulatory approval process, facilitating the vehicle’s readiness for flight by 2025. He elaborates, “If everything goes right, we plan to, and if we have enough funding if the law is at least not going to be worse, it’s going to be existing as it is, we plan to start production of the first one by the end of 2025.”

In the previous year, the Federal Aviation Authority granted Alef a special airworthiness certificate, permitting limited activities encompassing exhibition, research, and development of its flying car. However, further approval is required to authorize consumer flights.

Despite the considerable number of preorders, Dukhovny acknowledges the challenge of meeting this demand immediately. “It’s crazy how to produce 2,850 vehicles,” he remarks. “We’re going to start slow. And when people think that’s a million of those that are going to fly over San Francisco or Barcelona, that’s not going to happen. It’s going to be very slow — one, and then more, and then more,” he adds.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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