Five MIT (USA) graduates founded Terrafugia in 2006 in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA to design and manufacture hybrid-electric and all-electric vertical takeoff and landing VTOL roadable passenger aircraft. On November 13, 2017, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (China) purchased Terrafugia. The first models used petroleum engines for the power source and later the company began to design a hybrid-electric power source. The company has stated when battery density is much greater, their aircraft can be transitioned to have a 100% battery power source making the aircraft an electric VTOL (eVTOL) roadable aircraft. Terrafugia reported they had over 100 employees in 2020. In February 2021, the company laid off the majority of its employees and planned to close its US operations and re-establish their headquarters in China.
Terrafugia achieved widespread publicity after its first aircraft in 2009; the fixed-wing Terrafugia Transition is “the world’s first practical flying car” and the company is now ramping up for production in 2019.
In May 2013, Terrafugia unveiled its vision for a four-seat vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car, calling it the TF-X. The company revised the outer mold line (OML) in July 2015, steering the design away from the “open-grill” appearance of the Transition; a one-tenth scale wind tunnel test model of the TF-X, based on the new OML, was displayed that month at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
In late 2015, Terrafugia received a Section 333 exemption from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin to flight test a one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle (approximately 2 ft, or 60 cm, long). An exemption from the FAA was necessary at that time in order to conduct commercial research and development flying a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS). In February 2016, Terrafugia announced that it had completed static load testing of one-tenth scale carbon fiber wings.
The original concept, the TF-X, was a hybrid-electric tilt propeller “flying car.” For high-speed forward flight, the TF-X would fold back the blades and tuck the wings and propellers into the sides of the fuselage, using a large ducted fan at the rear for thrust. The company noted at the time that "Terrafugia’s vision for the future is the TF-X: a mass-market flying car with the potential to revolutionize the way we all get around. An all-electric vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities and computer-controlled flight, the TF-X is the flying car of the future. Terrafugia’s product development roadmap lays the groundwork for achieving this vision through a series of realistic steps over the coming decades."
Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL and road vehicle
Capacity: 4 passengers
Cruise Speed: 200 mph (320 km/h)
Range: 500 miles (800 km)
Takeoff and Landing: The TF-X™ will take off and land vertically from a level and minimum clearing of 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.
Propellers: 2 propellers
Electric motors: 2 electric motors (1 mw of power)
Power source: Combustion engine using unleaded automotive gasoline
Dimensions: The TF-X™ will fit in a single car garage or standard parking space.
Certification: Flying the TF-X™ will require substantially less training time than a traditional pilot’s license or sport pilot certificate. Driving the TF-X™ will require a standard US driver’s license.
Pricing: The price will be consistent with high-end luxury cars and exact pricing will become available when the vehicle is put into serial production
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