BY JASON PAUR 11.18.13 Terrafugia, the Massachusetts company building a “roadable aircraft” that most of us call a flying car, is turning to crowdfunding to continue development of its driving/flying machine. The company has been around since 2007 and has built and flown two prototypes thanks in large part to the $10 million in investor money it has already raised. Now the company is turning to Wefunder in hopes of finishing up the design of their third prototype.
Wefunder is a bit different than the more popular Kickstarter or Indiegogo sites. Instead of collecting a little money here and there from anybody with an account, Wefunder accepts accredited investors who will own stock in the company and is regulated by the federal government. According to a note on Terrafugia’s Wefunder page, company founder Carl Dietrich says, “we offer Wefunder investors a note which will convert to stock at a price that is determined by the next large investment round (greater than $1 million).”
Terrafugia’s Transition model uses a four-cylinder Rotax engine to power both the wheels when it drives and the propeller when it flies. The wings fold in close to the fuselage allowing the airplane to… well… transition from the airport to the roads. As an airplane, the Transition can cruise at 100 mph and has just over a 400 mile range. Both prototypes have flown successfully.
On its Wefunder page, Terrafugia claims a widely ranging market size of 200-400 vehicles per year by year four of production. The current price of the Transition is listed at $279,000.
In addition to the Transition, which has yet to go into production, the company is also working on its next high flying car, the TF-X. The TF-X includes an electric hybrid drive with batteries powering it on the roads, and assisting during takeoff and landing. A gasoline motor will provide the power for the flying part of your trip. Oh, and it also has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities — because you might as well go big when it comes to flying cars.
Currently Terrafugia shows it has raised $57,000 of the $500,000 it hopes to raise through Wefunder.