Terrafugia TF-X Revealed
Terrafugia announced TF-X, a “flying car” with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
This street-legal airplane has four seats and can drive like a normal car. It can also perform vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and fly with range of over 500 miles (800 km).
But for now it’s just concept (obviously) with a small model in one-tenth scale. Production could begin early next decade (2021), although we won’t hold our breath.
Price is unknown now, but three times a well-equipped Tesla Model S for one TF-X would be a reasonable estimation.
“We are thrilled to share new image and video media that reflect our updated Outer Mold Line (OML) design for the TF-X™, developed in collaboration with Ben Schweighart and Transportation/Automotive Designer Vedran Martinek. Visit our Image Gallery to view our new stills, and watch the new video below.
In addition, a one-tenth scale wind tunnel test model of the TF-X™ has been successfully developed based on the new OML, and is currently on display at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. The model will be tested at the MIT Wright Brothers wind tunnel, the same tunnel that was used to test models of Terrafugia’s Transition. The wind tunnel test model will be used to measure drag, lift and thrust forces while simulating hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight.”
“These new developments represent exciting, significant progress on the path towards the realization of Terrafugia’s revolutionary vision for the future of personal transportation. For more information on the TF-X™, please click here, and to stay up to date on the latest Terrafugia news, please sign up for our email newsletter below.”
Terrafugia already has some experience in flying cars as they built Transition – ICE aircraft/car, without vertical takeoff and landing capability (see last video below).
“Terrafugia is excited to premier the new Outer Mold Line for the TF-X™, Terrafugia’s vision for the future of personal transportation. The TF-X™ will be a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) hybrid electric aircraft that makes flying easier and safer than ever before. Visit terrafugia.com for more information.”
Terrafugia Transition in action in 2013:
Terrafugia TF-X Goals:
- Operating a TF-X™ vehicle should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile.
- TF-X™ vehicles will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace.
- TF-X™ will have a backup full-vehicle parachute system which can be activated by the operator in an emergency if the operator believes the TF-X™ to be incapable of auto-landing.
- If a TF-X™ operator declares an emergency (which will automatically notify authorities of the situation), the TF-X™ can be landed in non-approved landing zones.
- If the operator becomes unresponsive, TF-X™ would automatically implement an emergency auto-land at the nearest airport.
- Learning how to safely operate a TF-X™ vehicle should take an average driver no more than five hours.
- TF-X™ will give the operator significant freedom in flight – controlled in a manner similar to steering a car.
- TF-X™ will be able to fly in either “manual” or “automatic” modes between approved landing zones or airports.
- TF-X™ will carry four people in car-like comfort.
- TF-X™ will have a non-stop flight range of at least 500 miles.
- TF-X™ will fit into a standard construction single car garage.
- TF-X™ will be able to takeoff vertically from a level clearing of at least 100ft in diameter.
- TF-X™ will be able to drive on roads and highways – providing true door-to-door convenience and an automotive level of weather insensitivity.
In order to facilitate the achievement of this new dimension of personal freedom, the TF-X™ will be priced as low as possible while still allowing Terrafugia to grow to support our customers. The final pricing will not be set until we are much closer to delivery. The biggest price driver is the cost of production. It is likely that TF-X™ will be more expensive than a “normal car” due to the higher costs of the enabling light-weight materials, but with investment in automotive scale production, early studies indicate that it is possible that the final price point could be on-par with very high-end luxury cars of today. As demand increases, new materials and manufacturing processes will surely be developed and the price may come down further in the distant future.
Vision of TF-X™ Technical Operations:
- TF-X™ is a fixed wing street-legal aircraft with electric ground drive and electric power assist on takeoff and landing.
- TF-X™ will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.
- TF-X™ will be capable of “auto-landing” at approved landing sites within approved weather limits.
- Prior to departure, the operator selects a primary target landing zone and backup landing zones. If the TF-X™ calculates insufficient energy on board to conduct last minute aborts at the first two sites and safely navigate to and land at the third within a 30 minute reserve, or if the forecast weather in any of the three landing zones would be outside the allowable limits, or if any of the selected landing zones are in temporarily restricted airspace (TFRs), departure will not be allowed until appropriate landing zones are selected.
- If manual operation (sightseeing) or changing weather causes the second backup landing zone to fall outside the range of the limits, the operator will be notified and prompted to select new landing zones within the new restrictions.
- The TF-X™ operator will have final say over whether an approved landing zone is actually a safe place in which to land, and they may abort the landing attempt at any time.
- Aborting the third landing at the end of an extended flight would result in the automatic declaration of an emergency and a horizontal (airplane-like) landing at the nearest airport.
- Normal TF-X™ operations will be conducted only in non-tower controlled airspace (Class E and G) and on the ground. Operators who wish to operate in tower controlled airspace (Class B, C, or D) can get additional training.
- Licensed TF-X™ operators will be allowed to apply to add new landing zones to an approved landing zone database.
- TF-X™ will advise the operator if they are approaching restricted or tower-controlled airspace, or unnecessarily increasing the risk to human life (as could happen through carelessness, bad intentions, or if the operator becomes incapacitated). If the operator does not take the appropriate corrective action, the TF-X™ vehicle will automatically notify authorities by “declaring an emergency” on behalf of the operator.
Development of TF-X™ is expected to last 8-12 years. If you wish to be one of the first to own a TF-X™ vehicle, consider reserving a Transition® today. The Transition® will be delivered long before the TF-X™ is ready, and as loyal Terrafugia customers, Transition® buyers will be given the option to purchase TF-X™ vehicles before the rest of the public. The knowledge and experience you gain as a Transition® owner will help prepare you for TF-X™, and your feedback on our first product will help us craft the second.
Become a part of the Terrafugia transportation revolution today!