If you still feel like you were somehow “promised” flying cars based on Popular Science magazine covers in the 1960s then you’re in luck, because Dutch company PAL-V is now accepting pre-orders for its Liberty vehicle, which it calls “the first certified commercial flying car ever.” The three-wheeled ‘car’ has a retractable top-mounted rotor, making it more like a motor trike with gyrocopter skills than a car, per se.
Still, it does both drive and fly, which is double what most cars or aircraft can do reasonably well, and if you want the future now, PAL-V is willing to give it to you – at a price, and you still have to wait a little while longer to actually take delivery. Pricing begins at $400,000, but that’s for a base model before taxes. If you want the proper trim and kit, you’ll spring for the $600,000 “Pioneer” edition, which adds at-home training, power heating, fancy detailing and an electronic flight instrument display instead of the boring old electromechanical option.
You don’t have to pay all of that up front, since PAL-V says it’s aiming at the end of this year for production of test and certification craft, and delivery of fully certified vehicles by the end of 2018. Instead, the company is asking for either a non-refundable deposit of $25,000 for the top trim Pioneer, or $10,000 for the base model Sport – but if that’s too rich you can also put down a $2,500 escrow deposit which can be refunded and which will put you on the waiting list.
Why just a waiting list? Well, it turns out that only 90 of the Pioneer edition are planned for initial construction, so it sounds like the company is expecting a sell-out run of the initial group.
The PAL-V also has specs, in case that’s going to sway your purchase decision, including take-off space that generally will mean you’ll have to use an airfield to get into the sky. It has a 100 mph top ground speed, with a 0-60mph time of around 9 seconds, and it has 817 miles driving distance on a full tank with fuel efficiency of 31mpg.
While airborne, it has a top speed of 112mph, but mileage drops considerably – you’ll have to refuel every 310 miles while flying with the PAL-V, but that’s still enough for jumping airfield to airfield between a lot of cities and towns.
PAL-V also isn’t just any fly-by-night operation: The company has been doing concept testing since at least 2009, and it also founded the first North American flying car school in the U.S. in Utah last year. Still, don’t count your flying cars before they take to the roads and the sky, unless you’ve got at least $10K lying around you’re fine with never seeing again.