US start-up Terrafugia is seeking investment to fund its Transition flying car through production and into to the hands of its first owners.
“We have secured enough investment to fund programme development,” says Alex Min, Terrafugia’s head of sales and marketing.
Financial backing for the two-seat Transition – designed as a street-legal aircraft that can be driven safely on roads – has so far come from private individuals “who have a passion for aviation and innovation”, he adds.
However, institutional investors are now “showing an interest” in the programme.
“We have reached a stage with the Transition when most of the risk has been taken out,” says Min. “Now there are plenty of people who are interested in talking to us because of who we are and what we do.”
Interest in the programme has also come from China, where potential investors see the aircraft as a “means of beating congestion and pollution” in their country.
“We would consider setting up a joint venture with a Chinese company and co-producing the aircraft there,” Min says. “The Transition is ideally suited to this market.”
Woburn, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia has built two Transition flight test aircraft so far. The proof-of-concept model made its first flight in 2009, and the second-generation aircraft – the first production prototype – took to the skies in 2012.
So far the aircraft has amassed around 100 flying hours. Terrafugia is now designing a third aircraft, which it hopes to fly by the end of 2015.
Transition will be certificated in the light sport aircraft category to American Society of Testing and Materials standards. “We are about two years away from delivering the first aircraft,” Min adds.
So far Terrafugia has secured around 100 commitments for the Rotax 912iS-powered Transition, which is priced at around $280,000.