Flying cars are real & they're not bad for the climate


EXCERPT: . . . On Thursday, the German start-up Lilium announced that it had completed its first test of that strange and buzzing vehicle, the five-seater Jet. [...] The successful flight puts Lilium near the front of a pack of companies that hope to fill the sky with small electric aircraft. These companies see themselves as a key part of humanity’s climate-friendly future: At distances of more than 40 miles, such vehicles may even be better for the environment than electric cars. In the industry, the vehicles are known as electric VTOLs, short for “vertical takeoff and landing” vehicles.

But everyone calls them by a far more romantic name: flying cars.

[...] Eventually, Lilium hopes to use a fleet of five-seaters to ferry customers around metropolitan areas or between cities. ... “We are very confident that we will have it in a number of different cities by 2025,” Gerber said. He envisions Jets linking New York to Boston, Philadelphia, or the Hamptons. A flight between downtown Manhattan and John F. Kennedy International Airport would cost $70 and take only six minutes, he says. Today that trip by taxi takes at least an hour, but costs about the same.

At least 16 companies are trying to build electric flying cars or taxis [...] But only a handful have made successful test flights. ... Lilium stands out by promising a far longer range than most of its competitors. While many companies say their VTOLs will travel 60 miles on a single charge, Lilium says (but has yet to prove) that it can eke out 185 miles. “We don’t have a magical battery,” Gerber said, adding that the Jet’s solid-body wings and dozens of small electric motors allow it to cruise while using little energy.

Greg Keoleian, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan [...] and his colleagues found that a fully loaded flying car could be more efficient than an electric car at a distance of more than 60 miles. Flying cars are more efficient—and emit less carbon pollution—than gasoline-burning cars when going longer than 21 miles. (MORE - details)

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