Terrafugia unveils new TF-X flying-car design

The company, which has been working for years on the development of a flying car, shows off a new look.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

The updated design for the TF-X. Terrafugia

Getting a light plane-car hybrid off the ground seems to be an arduous process. The TF-X -- from flying-car company Terrafugia -- was announced more than two years ago but will be in development for some years to come.

If your interest needed a pique, though, the company has something new to offer: an updated exterior design of the TF-X (aka an outer mold line).

In addition, US-based Terrafugia said Monday, the new design for the TF-X will be tested as a one-tenth scale model in a wind tunnel. The model is currently on display at the EAA AirVenture aviation convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

"The model will be tested at the MIT Wright Brothers wind tunnel, the same tunnel that was used to test models of Terrafugia's Transition. The wind tunnel test model will be used to measure drag, lift and thrust forces while simulating hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight," Terrafugia said in a statement.

The original 2013 design of the TF-X. Terrafugia

The TF-X will be the successor to the company's Transition aircraft, which was flown at EAA AirVenture in 2013.

The company, founded in 2006 by MIT aeronautics and management graduates in Woburn, Massachusetts, had projected delivery of its first Transition units for around $279,000 in 2015 or 2016. However, delivery has been postponed several times -- and it's still expected to take a couple more years and cost up to $400,000, according to a report on Engadget.

The newer flying car will be a hybrid electric vehicle. It will have the capacity to carry four people, fit into a standard single-car garage, and be both street-legal and easy to fly -- taking, on average, around five hours to learn to operate in the skies, the company said. It will also, according to Terrafugia , be able to take off and land vertically, with "auto-landing" at approved sites.

From left: street mode, takeoff and landing mode, and flight mode. Terrafugia

In May 2013, Terrafugia said the development of the TF-X would take eight to 12 years. So far, it seems to be sticking to that timeline.

Correction, 6:45 a.m. PT July 22: A reference to the wind-tunnel testing has been fixed.