Video: Hydrogen fuel cell-based flying car seats five and travels 400 milesPeter Brown | June 04, 2019
A new entrant into the market for flying cars has emerged with a different take on the technology. Instead of using a traditional combustion or electric engine, Alaka’i Technologies’ aircraft includes a system that runs entirely on hydrogen fuel cells.
The company recently unveiled the Skai electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle that was co-developed with Designworks. According to the company, the vehicle is a clean, environmental solution from end to end as it is sourced entirely of heat and water. The hydrogen fuel cells allow the flying car to travel greater distances, carrying a greater payload.
The flying car has a range of up to four hours and 400 miles running on six electric motors. It fits up to five passengers and will initially be piloted by a human with autonomous versions to follow in the near future. Alaka’i Technologies said the aircraft was built with a fault-tolerant architecture for safety and comes equipped with an airframe parachute.
Currently, the company is testing the vehicle with the FAA and pending certification will expand the use of the vehicle beyond personal mobility and into applications such as emergency response, economical freight distribution and the utilization of hydrogen fuel cells as a reliable, zero-emission power source.
The flying car market is experiencing expanded growth as companies see the market for flying taxis and personal transportation as a new opportunity to curb traffic congestion as well as cut emissions by using electric powered flying vehicles instead of traditional cars. Recent research suggests that flying cars could help with climate change under certain circumstances, especially during longer trips around a city.
A number of new startups are working on flying cars such as Bell Nexus, AeroMobil, EHANG and PAL-V. Recently, larger companies have gotten in on the market as well such as Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Porsche.