Airspeeder Mk4: first manned ‘flying electric race car’

Alauda Aeronautics has unveiled its latest iteration of the Airspeeder. This Mk4 version is the first to be designed for manned operation, with previous Airspeeders being remote-controlled. A racing series is scheduled for 2024, but Alauda is still looking for support from OEMs and racing teams.

The Airspeeder was first announced in 2019 with a demonstration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then still with an unmanned ‘flying car’. This newest iteration finally moves to a manned aircraft designed for racing, with the previous unmanned Mk3 already proving itself in test races in 2022.

The Airspeeder Mk4 is powered by a 1 000 kW hydrogen turbogenerator /Alauda Aeronautics

Hydrogen power

The Airspeeder Mk4 is powered by a ‘Thunderstrike’ turbogenerator. It uses green hydrogen as its fuel source and produces up to 1 000 kW (1 360 hp) of power for the batteries, supplying the electric motors powering the four rotor pairs.

This allows for excellent handling and maneuverability, which Alauda compares to the dynamics of a Formula 1 car or a fighter jet. Thanks to the energy density of hydrogen compared to a relatively low weight, the Airspeeder Mk4 has a flying range of over 300 km while maintaining a take-off weight of 950 kilograms.

The Mk4 is the first manned version of the Airspeeder, which will require top pilots to produce exciting races /Alauda Aeronautics

Racing in 2024?

The Mk4 will begin testing in the first quarter of 2023 in the build-up to the Airspeeder Racing Championship, which Alauda Aeronautics wants to organize in 2024. According to the company, the venues, sponsors, and technical partners have already been secured. The only thing needed to make the championship happen would be the support and visibility of OEM car brands and motorsport teams.

Alauda sees this flying race vehicle as a step toward privately owned flying cars in the future, both for taxi use and commuting. “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 enormous. It’s a fascinating time,” according to CEO Matt Pearson.


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