Meet PAL-V Liberty: World’s first road-legal flying car that’s ready to hit European streets

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Many past renditions of how the future will look like included flying cars, and the sci-fi notion just moved a step closer to reality. The Netherlands based company PAL-V develops flying car models and the first one is Liberty. It has passed the European road admission tests and is now street legal in Europe. With this, the PAL-V Liberty becomes the first road legal flying car.

PAL-V Liberty gets a license plate

PAL-V has been conducting flying and driving tests of the Liberty since 2012. With a license plate, the car is now ready to hit the streets of Europe. This was possible only after the vehicle  completed an extensive drive test program that was being carried out on test tracks since February 2020. The vehicle will undergo endurance testing in the coming months, which means people will get a glimpse of it on roads.

While the Liberty has received a license plate to be street legal, PAL-V has been vying to get an aviation certificate for it since 2015. If everything goes as planned by the company, European Aviation Safety Agency is expected to grant the aviation certificate by 2022. The PAL-V liberty supposedly gains benefits from the certification experience that was accumulated during PAL-V One’s flight test program. PAL-V One was the company’s second prototype, which took flight in 2012.

To fly the PAL-V Liberty, one needs both a driver’s license and an autogyro pilot’s license. The company says reservation bookings for the vehicle are “ growing beyond expectation.” Additionally, around 80 percent of people who booked the Liberty are new to aviation and some of them have commenced training to acquire a gyroplane flying license at the PAL-V FlyDrive Academy.  

More about PAL-V Liberty 

As the concept of flying car moves closer to reality, it makes sense to get more information about the vehicle. The PAL-V Liberty is a 2 seater vehicle that’s capable of being driven and flown around. It weighs 664kg and offers a maximum takeoff weight of 910 kg, which includes a max baggage load of 20kg. 

Powered by a dual engine certified airplane engine from Rotax, the Liberty uses dual propulsion drive train. In Drive mode, the engine produces 100hp of power and is claimed to have a range of 1315km. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 160km/h on roads with 0-100km/h range of less than 9 seconds. When in flight mode, its max speed is 180km/h and max range is 400km with half an hour of reserve fuel. 

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PAL-V offers Liberty in two variants, Sports edition and Pioneer edition. Ninety units of the latter version will first be delivered, after which the Sports edition will start rolling out to customers. In Europe, the Sports edition is priced from €300,000, while the Pioneer edition costs €500,000. 

Safety

Addressing the safety concerns associated with a “flying car”, the company says, “In the air, the underlying gyroplane technology guarantees a stable flying platform that supports safe landing even in the very unlikely event of a total power failure. Which in itself is very unlikely thanks to its unique two engine propulsion solution.”

“Unlike most small airplanes and gyroplanes the PAL-V LIBERTY is certified under the very strict safety regime of EASA (Europe) and FAA (USA). Many countries in the world follow the same rules. On the road, the PAL-V LIBERTY is complying with the applicable road safety requirements,” it further adds. 

The company

PAL-V International, the company that initiated the development of the PAL-V, is located in Raamsdonksveer, the Netherlands. The company was founded in 2007 in order to commercialise the concept developed since 1999. It is funded by a group of professional and private investors and also received funding from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Three Dutch ministries are also supporting the project. 

Image Credits: PAL-V

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Shubham Sharma

Grew up reading tech magazines and comic books. I binge on books, manga, movies, anime, and everything in between. Nothing makes my day like an innovative idea and a good tech story. You can reach him via [email protected]

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