DeLorean is back! And they're hoping to build a flying car
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While some car manufacturers have the EV game in their sights, others are trying to skip a phase to what some predict will be the thing sure to supersede the car as we know it. That is, of course, the flying car.
Dreams of flying cars are nothing new. For some, those dreams are as old as their memories of The Jetsons, or Star Wars, or ... well ... Back to the Future of course.
How ironic and full circle it is that, of the smattering of motoring names to attach themselves to personal flight (which includes Toyota and Uber), DeLorean is one. But, it's true. In 2012, Paul DeLorean — nephew of the John DeLorean, founder of the DeLorean car company — founded DeLorean Aerospace. And just in time for the flying car buzz, the company have revealed their first design; the DR-7.
At the moment, it's something that exists purely on paper and through renders like the ones shown here. However, the company have also reportedly produced two scale models of the DR-7 for further research and development — the largest of them being 1:3-scale. According to Paul DeLorean, the company will conduct testing with a full-scale radio-controlled model in about one year.
The vehicle they're in the process of developing looks almost entirely like a plane. Twin turbines at each end powered by electric motors provide propulsion and thrust, allowing the DR-7 and its monocoque-composite body to take off vertically. A pair of wings jut from the bodywork behind the driver (or, pilot?), while another pair of wings on the nose give the DR-7 a hammerhead appearance.
All up, it's a whisker over six metres long, and five and a half metres wide — though the large wings can be folded away for storage. And to top it off, the DR-7 comes with self-flying technology.
“The design really solves a lot of major transportation problems and inefficiencies, such as deteriorating infrastructure, pollution, and road congestion,” said DeLorean — Paul, that is — in an interview with Wired.
“We are moving forward on a full-size, piloted prototype which will carry two passengers and is designed to operate, fully electric, for a range of 120 miles. [...] You can cruise at higher altitude, with greater efficiency,. It's designed so that you don't have all the drag.”
Gut feeling is that the hubbub around flying cars will remain hubbub for a few decades yet, given the lack of physical, existing, success stories and functioning concepts.
However, with the rate at which technology continues to march forward, who really knows...