Dutch firm PAL-V has announced that the world’s first commercial flying car, the PAL-V Liberty has been approved for road usage for the Europe region, which the company says brings it another step closer to deliveries.
The commercial launch and deliveries of the PAL-V Liberty has been much delayed, in fact, with an entry-level price tag of $399,000 (around Rs. 2.52 crore) excluding taxes, the company was expected to begin deliveries by end-2018 globally including India.
The company says after flying and driving the test prototypes in 2012, PAL-V started the design of the Liberty, its commercial product. Recently, the PAL-V Liberty has cleared the European road admission tests and now is allowed on the streets with an official license plate. This completed a rigorous and extensive drive test program that was carried out on test tracks since February 2020, which included high-speed ovals, brake and emission tests to noise pollution testing.
Mike Stekelenburg, CTO, PAL-V said: “With the memories in mind of fly and drive testing our proof of concept, the PAL-V One, I was really looking forward to testing the Liberty. We have been cooperating with the road authorities for many years to reach this milestone. The excitement you feel in the team is huge. It was very challenging to make a ‘folded aircraft’ pass all road admission tests. For me, the trick in successfully making flying car is to ensure that the design complies with both air and road regulations. I feel the energy and motivation in our team to push hard for the last few milestones and get the Liberty certified for flying too.”
Hans Joore, test-driver, PAL-V said: “When I fired-up the PAL-V for the first time I really got goosebumps! All the effort that we put into it came together at that crucial moment. Hearing the vehicle come to life was just magnificent and driving it was great. It is very smooth and responsive to the steering and with a weight of just 660kg it accelerates really well. The overall experience is like a sportscar. It feels sensational.”
The Dutch firm says since 2015 the PAL-V Liberty design has been also going through aviation certification with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency), and the finalisation is expected in 2022. The PAL-V Liberty benefits from the certification experience accumulated in the earlier flight test program with the PAL-V One. Over 1,200 test reports need to be completed before the final 150 hours of flight testing can take place. After this the deliveries to customers will start.
The company claims its reservation book is growing beyond expectation. As 80 percent of the future PAL-V carflyers are new to aviation, some of them have started the training for a gyroplane flying license at the PAL-V FlyDrive Academy.
Robert Dingemanse, CEO, PAL-V added: “It’s another great step forward for us, now we ‘drive’ ahead to the last milestones. In parallel we organise roadshows across Europe to demonstrate the PAL-V to customers.”