The flying car prototype has just received a certificate of airworthiness from the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified to test the vehicle the California startup describes as a flying car – the first electric vehicle that can fly and travel on roads to receive US government approval.

Alef Automotive said his vehicle/plane, nicknamed “Model A”, is the first flying vehicle that can be driven on public roads and can be parked like a normal car. It also has the ability to take off and land vertically. It appears it will be able to carry one or two passengers and will have a road range of 200 miles and a range of 110 miles.

The company expects to sell the vehicles for $300,000 each with first projected delivery in late 2025.

The FAA confirmed that it had issued the company a special certificate of airworthiness, allowing for limited purposes that include exhibition, research and development.

Many companies are working on all-electric VTOLs, which stand for aircraft take-off and landing vehicles. The FAA said that Alef was “not the first aircraft of its kind” to be awarded a special airworthiness certificate. However, Alef noted that his vehicle is different because of its ability to function both on the road and in the air, to appear like a normal car and to park in an ordinary parking lot.

“We are pleased to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to delivering faster, greener journeys, saving individuals and companies hours every week. It's one small step for airplanes, one big step for cars,” said Jim Dukhovny, CEO of Alef.

The company's website says the flying car will be certified as a “low-speed vehicle”, meaning it won't be able to go faster than about 25 miles per hour on paved roads. “The assumption is, if the driver needs a faster route, the driver will use Alef's flying capabilities,” the company wrote on the site.

Apart from that, it also still needs approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to run on the highway.

Development has been on the vehicle since 2015. Four friends, Constantine Kisly, Pavel Markin, Oleg Petrov and Dukhovny, inspired by the movie “Back to the Future” (which predicted flying cars would be available that year), decided to form a company to try develop it.

According to the company, an initial automated flight test of the frame version of the car was successful in 2018, and a full-size prototype was flown the following year. However, Alef said that he needed a special FAA certificate of airworthiness to continue to carry out the necessary research and development.

The company also said that earlier this year it was taking refundable pre-orders for more than 400 vehicles, for a fee of $150 for general queue or $1,500 for priority queue.

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