Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent of Chinese carmaker Geely, has acquired US-based flying auto developer Terrafugia with the aim of bringing a proper flying vehicle to life.
As cities become more congested, more and more companies are entering the race to develop safe, reliable and relatively affordable flying cars. Although the company will be under the wing of the Chinese, it will maintain autonomy over its major research and development capabilities and production facilities, while looking to synergize with Geely in accelerating development. And I have no doubt the number of itchy scalps will grow tenfold now that the deal is done.
"Many carmakers, faced with challenges brought about by electric cars and autonomous driving, are making investments in frontier technologies, as the future is becoming more uncertain", he said. And the startup even managed to sell a handful at a price of $279,000 each.
Its TF-X prototype is even more ambitious.
Pictured is the Terrafugia TF-X, a fully-electric flying vehicle concept that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing. It features a 2-seat cabin and a foldable wing.
"This type of VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) technology is seen as fundamental to the creation of an aerial taxi service, as envisioned by Uber and others", it said. "This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we now understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so". Geely's vice president for global business Nathan Yu Ning will become chairman of Terrafugia, and three other Geely executives will join the company's board. Chris Jaran, former managing director for Bell Helicopter China, was also appointed as a board member and will take over as CEO.
In anticipation of this transaction, the Company's team of engineers has tripled over the past three months with Geely Holding's approval and with Geely being fully committed to investing further in the company and creating additional jobs after completion of the acquisition. Of course, Terrafugia will benefit from the expertise and success in the automotive industry of the Geely Group.
Geely bought the Swedish passenger carmaker in 2010, and the owner of United Kingdom taxi producer The London Taxi Company in 2012.