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Flying vehicle company Terrafugia bought by China's Geely

14 Novembre 2017

According to The Verge, Terrafugia's flying vehicle model, named Transition, a road-ready prop plane with retractable wings, received approval from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012, essentially making it street-legal there.

Zhejiang Geely, the Chinese holding company that controls the Volvo, Lynk & Co., Geely and Lotus brands, announced on Monday plans to fully acquire American flying auto startup Terrafugia.

Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding believes that "Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we now understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so". It's also hiring some big guns. One of them is PAL-V., a Dutch company that had its design model unveiled by Prince Albert of Monaco during The Top Marques Supercar Show and that recently started the sales of its commercial models for delivery by the end of next year. Chris Jaran, former managing director for Bell Helicopter China, was also appointed as a board member and will take over as CEO.

Terrafugia was founded in 2005 by five award-winning graduate engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using rechargeable batteries, the TF-X would have a range of 500 miles per flight. Terrafugia focuses on engineering, innovation and production of flying cars and on future technologies.

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The US-based company unveiled the Transition in 2012 with a base price of $279,000 at the time, and received Federal Aviation Administration certification previous year.

Flying cars may soon become a reality - and not only for eccentric billionaires but also for a much larger public, as a major vehicle holding from China is investing in the US company to develop a mass-market product it hopes to launch as soon as 2019.

Geely, whose headquarters are in Hangzhou, China, bought a 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings Bhd on May 24, together with another 51% stake in Lotus Cars from DRB-Hicom Bhd. Toyota already has a skunk works team working on a flying vehicle.

Geely bought the Swedish passenger carmaker in 2010, and the owner of United Kingdom taxi producer The London Taxi Company in 2012.

Flying vehicle company Terrafugia bought by China's Geely