We may not have an affordable version of the flying car yet, though they do exist, this is the next best thing. Tetra Aviation's one-person eVTOL gets you from New York to the Hamptons in style and comfort. A hundred-mile flight isn't so bad, and it's certainly faster than taking a car or even a train. How soon can you get one, and what will it cost? We'll share everything we know about this innovative aircraft.
What Is an eVTOL
For anyone who isn't up on Tetra Aviation or aviation in general, the term eVTOL sounds like a gaming computer or some new, futuristic-looking environmentally-friendly cell phone. One thing is certain; the One-Person eVTOL does look like it came from the future. The term eVTOL stands for Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing. Basically, this craft can hover to get into the sky or touch down, which is very cool. More importantly, it's a lot easier than old-fashioned runway-based takeoff and landing methods. Plus, it takes a lot less space. An eVTOL plane can land on a helipad or potentially on a smaller space depending on the size of the craft. Since it doesn't need much clearance, flying these craft means you can have more of them in the same space occupied by traditional aircraft.
ICEV's Versus eVTOL
In addition to the space considerations, the eVTOL has another significant advantage over the ICEV models. First, a quick clarification. Traditional aircraft and even most cars are ICEVs. ICEV stands for Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle. Since the 'e' in eVTOL stands for electric, these clever crafts are like the electric cars of the sky. Not only are electric vehicles a lot greener, with no combustion or emissions to pollute the air, but they get an outstanding distance on a single charge. According to a 2016 report arxiv.org, eVTOL vehicles are at least equivalent to ICEVs and can be more efficient depending on the load. Some proponents of the new aircraft are already arguing that these small planes will outstrip cars, trains, and ICEV planes in the near future. Given the calamitous state of the environment, electric vehicles are quickly taking over. The internal combustion engine era was always limited anyhow because natural gas, while vast, is a non-renewable resource. Techniques like fracking can extend the supply to an extent, but they are incredibly damaging to huge swathes of land. More importantly, it takes millions of years to create natural gas.
The One-Person eVTOL's Bigger Brother
Before we take a deeper dive into the incredible Tetra Aviation solo eVTOL, let's take a look at its siblings from Kelekona and Uber. According to MSN, the Kelekona company plans to have sky-busses running by 2024, and the first route is planned for New York to the Hamptons, with more to come from Paris to London and LA to San Francisco soon after. Called 'drone busses,' these larger eVTOL's will carry up to forty passengers at a time for the cost of a cheap plane ticket, around eighty-five dollars. In the mid-size category, Uber also has plans for a similar small-flight service. However, their 'air taxis' will only hold about four passengers. The transportation revolution race has been going on for centuries, but the next leg is going to be in the sky, and it might be able to pick you up at home.
The Future of Solo Travel is an eVTOL Called MK5
Imagine pulling your plane out of the garage, lifting off vertically, and flying to work in a few minutes with little to no traffic. It seems like some futuristic dream, but soon enough, it will be a reality for those with private pilots' licenses. Flying the MK5 up to a hundred miles on a charge is about to become normal. This 13.5 kWh battery One-Person eVTOL plane can change the way you commute forever, but you'd better get that license now. Best of all, the MK5 may be available as a kit you build at home. Measuring 28 feet wide by 20 feet long by 7 feet high, you'll be able to fit one in a double-wide garage. Of course, you could park it in the yard and not need to pull out at all. The 32 vertical rotors on four fixed wings will allow you to skip right past the runway and go up and down vertically like George Jetson. Better still, the kits are scheduled to begin shipping as early as next year. With a smart design that is incredibly scalable, according to RobbReport, as demand rises, mass production is a realistic possibility.
Why Not Now
If the MK5 is so cool, why can't you get one right now? The answer is more practical than you might expect. To obtain FAA approval, they need to do more safety test flights. There's also the issue of regulatory approval. It takes a fair amount of paperwork and proof of concept to put a new plane in the sky. Regardless of what is allowed in other countries, the US has its own standards for flight. Originally, Tetra Aviation was anticipating that the first models would not hit the USA until 2024, but it's likely to be sometime in 2022 instead due to its excellent performance so far. That's great news for anyone with a private pilots' license, but even better for the environment. With more people commuting via electric aircraft, it can help reduce traffic jams and transit times without any gas emissions.
Are you ready to fly solo to the Hamptons and beyond? It's likely that you'll start seeing a lot more of these One-Person eVTOL's, both large and small popping up as a cost-effective, private, and far more environmentally-conscious alternative to gas-powered transportation. Ten years from now, you may be looking at the ability to rent an e-plane like the MK5 for a business trip or a quick jaunt home to see family the same way you'd rent a car now. Best of all, it will be much faster so you can spend less time in transit and more on the important things in life.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith