Terrafugia TF-2 tiltrotor (defunct)
Woburn, Massachusetts, USA
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.
The TF-2 tiltrotor is a one pilot and four passenger hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and land (VTOL) aircraft. The airframe will transport exchangeable passenger and cargo pods that become the underside of its fuselage. A ground vehicle will back into the pod and secure to the vehicle and drive the passengers or cargo to their final destination. While landed, custom trucks (originally hybrid-electric but ultimately fully electric like the TF) will have an automated loading and unloading system and would exchange pods with the aircraft within two minutes.
This type of transportation system take the passengers seamlessly from their home or office and takes them to their final destination without passengers having to make any transfers and without long lines and wait times at airports. With a quick transition and no passengers loading or unloading, the cost to operate the vehicle is estimated at $400 per hour.
The aircraft has two wide diameter propellers that tilt vertically (the outboard wing tilts with the rotors) for ascent and descent and it uses tractor propellers for forward or reverse flight. The electric motors are roughly in the center of each wing. Adjustable height landing gear are aft of the motors and on the down facing rudder. The TF-2 tiltrotor has a speed an estimated cruise speed of 196-207 mph (315-333 km/h), a range of 277-345 mph (445-555 km) and has a payload of 900-1100 lb (410-500 kg). When autonomous piloting becomes safe and practical, the aircraft can be retrofitted with autonomous piloting.
Terrafugia achieved widespread publicity after its first aircraft in 2009; the fixed-wing Terrafugia Transition was billed as “the world’s first practical flying car”. In late 2017 Terrafugia was acquired by the Chinese company Zhejiang Geely, which also owns the Volvo and Lotus car brands. This injected new capital into the Transition production, allowed for acceleration in the company's eVTOL development. The company is studying two competing concepts under the designation of TF-2. These two different designs are a vectored thrust tiltrotor model and a lift + cruise model. Both are considered to be compatible with the Uber Elevate concept.
This concept was abandoned in summer 2018 in favor of the TF-2 lift + push approach now being pursued. For more information on Terrafugia's other aircraft, please see the Terrafugia TF-X, Terrafugia TF-2, and Terrafugia TF-2A aircraft pages.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric or all-electric VTOL passenger aircraft with detachable passenger pod. The aircraft frame can fly without the passenger pod. There is a bus-like vehicle that loads the pod on the back of the four wheeled ground vehicle.
- Piloting: 1 pilot or autonomous
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Cruise speed: 196-207 mph (315-333 km/h)
- Range: 277-345 mph (445-555 km)
- Flight time: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Maximum payload: 900-1100 lb (410-500 kg)
- Propellers: 2 tilt-propellers
- Electric motors: 2 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric or all batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
- Wings: 1 main wing
- Tail: 1 rear conventional tail but with the rudder facing downward
- Landing gear: Lands on two front landing legs and the rear downward facing rudder
- Terrafugia website
- Terrafugia Facebook
- Terrafugia Twitter
- Terrafugia YouTube
- Terrafugia Instagram
- Terrafugia LinkedIn
- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group website
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, Jan. 2017
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, Mar. 2017
- Article: Terrafugia Acquired, Electric VTOL News, Aug. 23, 2017
- Press Release: Terrafugia Inc: 100-Day Update Since Acquisition by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Terrafugia, Feb. 28, 2018
- Article: Terrafugia Unveils New TF-2, Electric VTOL News, Jan. 2, 2019
- Article: Geely Unveils Terrafugia TF-2A, Electric VTOL News, Jan. 9, 2020
- Article: Terrafugia Flies Subscale TF-2A, eVTOL News, Mar. 2, 2020
- Article: Layoffs Reported At Terrafugia, AVweb, Feb. 17, 2021
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