Alauda Aeronautics, a developer of performance electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, based in Adelaide, Australia, has announced its new Airspeeder Mk4 – the world’s first crewed electric flying race car. The vehicle is powered by the company’s Thunderstrike hydrogen turbogenerator, which feeds energy to the batteries and motors. The 1000 kW (1340 hp) demonstrator engine incorporates an additively manufactured combustor designed to keep the hydrogen flame temperature relatively low and greatly reducing nitrous oxide emissions.
The Thunderstrike engine is specifically developed for use in eVTOLs, where this technology allows green hydrogen to be used as fuel, providing safe, reliable and sustainable power over long distances and flight times. With its sophisticated electric propulsion system, advanced aerodynamics and a take-off weight of 950 kg, the Airspeeder Mk4 has a projected range of 300 km (188 miles) and a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph), while producing near-zero emissions.
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Alauda explains that hydrogen is an ideal fuel for future aviation and, specifically, personal urban air travel. It has a high energy density and can be stored in a lightweight, compact form, making it suitable for small aircraft. The fuel is also non-toxic and produces no emissions except pure water, so it doesn’t cause air pollution.
Airspeeder Racing Championship 2024
The company is currently seeking OEM partners to join it in the Airspeeder Racing Championship in 2024, the first crewed flying race car series. The championship first ran in 2022, with teams operating remotely piloted 4.1 m long eVTOL racers.
“We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly skilled pilots in their fields,” stated Matt Pearson, CEO, Alauda Aeronautics.
Flying cars a step closer
Alauda Aeronautics is working towards a future where private flying cars become a viable means of urban transport. Its team of engineers and designers – drawn from companies including Airbus, Boeing, Ferrari, MagniX and McLaren – are confident its technologies could make air travel faster, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more accessible.
“You will see these technologies on the racetrack. However, eVTOLs are already a trillion-dollar industry and we see a very substantial market for private flying cars emerging in the near future. In conventional aerospace, there are about as many private jets as there are commercial jets in operation. We believe it could be the same with flying cars one day, with a roughly similar number of commercial taxis and private cars initially,” added Pearson.
“Once we can sell you a flying car for the same price as a Tesla, you’ll quickly see the balance shift. Today, private cars outnumber taxis by about 300 to one, so the potential for people to own and drive their own flying car one day is absolutely enormous. It’s a very exciting time.”
The Airspeeder Mk4 is due to be publicly unveiled at the Southstart innovation festival taking place in Adelaide, Australia, March 7-10, 2023.