Alef Aeronautics won regulatory approval to begin testing its fully electric flying car. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that it has issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate for Alef’s “Model A” vehicle, according to a CNN report, meaning that it now has legal clearance to fly.
Pre-orders have already opened for the $300,000 car that can take off and land vertically, and drive on the road as a low speed vehicle. The California-based startup aims to begin deliveries to customers by the end of 2025, according to CNBC.
“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute,” said Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny in a press release. “This is one small step for planes, one giant step for cars.”
Alef began developing its flying cars in 2015. It started test driving and flying its prototype in 2019, and emerged from stealth mode in 2022. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has previously invested in Tesla and SpaceX, is one of the company’s backers.
The “Model A” has a driving range of 200 miles (321 km) and flight range of 110 miles. As a low speed vehicle, by regulation it weighs less than 3,000 pounds and can drive no faster than 25 mph (40 kmh). The vehicle can seat two people.
Alef has another electric flying vehicle en route, which is slated for release in 2035. The “Model Z,” a four-person sedan, will be priced at $35,000 and is slated to have a 300+ mile flying range and 200+ mile driving range.
It is unclear what’s the maximum altitude Alef’s cars can reach. Competitors aim to go as high as 10,000 feet (the altitude helicopters typically fly at), in Terrafugia’s case, or 8,000 feet, like Klein Vision’s AirCar.