Rolls-Royce debuted a conceptual, electric, vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) flying car at this week’s Farnborough International Airshow.
The luxury car maker said the flying car project could be adapted for personal transportation, public transport, logistics and military applications. Rolls-Royce expects the flying car to be ready in the early 2020s.
The initial concept vehicle uses Rolls-Royce’s M250 gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors specifically designed to have a low noise profile, the company said. This hybrid EVTOL configuration would carry four to five passengers with speeds up to 250 mph for about 500 miles and would not require recharging as the gas turbine would charge the battery. The M250 gas turbine has powered more than 170 different helicopter and fixed-wing civil and military applications, and amassed more than 250 million operating hours.
The wings of the concept flying car are able to rotate 90 degrees for takeoff and landing done vertically. After takeoff, the propellers on the wing could fold away once the craft has reached cruising height, reducing drag and cabin noise with the aircraft relying on the two rear propellers for thrust.
“Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution,” said Rob Watson, heads of Rolls-Royce’s Electrical team. “Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight. We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”