By Evan Ackerman
The problem with the future is that by definition, it keeps on getting closer but it’s never quite here. Frustrating. It seems that although we haven’t reached the flying car stage yet, we’ve managed to make it to drivable airplane. The Terrafugia Transition is basically a little airplane with a pusher prop, four wheels, and foldable wings that is certified by both the FAA as a light airplane and by the NHTSA as a street legal (and safe and insurable) automobile. It’s certainly innovative, but in a lot of ways, it’s extremely simple: there’s no ducted fans or thruster pods or pulse jets to let you take off out of traffic jams or anything… It’s really just an airplane. With enough foldy bits to make it a car.
As far as mechanics go, the Transition is gas powered, with a range of about 450 miles. Anyone can get in and drive the car, although you need key code to deploy the wings, so your kids (or your cat) won’t be able to take off in the car, so to speak. You will need a pilot’s license to fly the Transition, but just a light sport license, which is significantly cheaper and easier to obtain. The first Terrafugia Transition is scheduled to take to the air next month, and you should be able to buy one for yourself by the end of 2009, for $194,000. For that price, you could buy a new car and a new plane… But try driving them both at the same time.
Video (CG) after the jump.