I remember watching “The Jetsons” as a kid and marveling at the unbelievable innovations the people of that futuristic world were exposed to. One such invention was the flying car. “The Jetsons” was set in the year 2062, but in 2015, the flying car is projected to be readily available to consumers.
According to a CNN news report, Terrafugia, a privately owned automobile manufacturer from Massachusetts, has developed an automobile that doubles as a small plane. The invention is known as the “Transition,” as it adds a new dimension to the concept of the automobile as we know it. The Transition runs on premium unleaded gasoline and can travel over 400 miles in the air. It also runs 35 mpg and has a maximum speed on the ground of seventy mph.
I find it unreal that something we could never place past a science fantasy world is most likely joining a crowded and unchanged automobile market just two years from now.
However, there is one major problem with this amazing innovation that will not only make it impractical, but also reduce its impact on the industry: its price.
When the Transition is set to hit the open market in 2015, it is projected to cost $279,000 to purchase. This is more than triple the average amount of money a standard four-member family makes in Virginia in a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Transition will seemingly be grouped together with the Lamborghini and the Porsche as a dream car that is out of reach for the majority of the population. One should wonder, from an economic standpoint, how many people will purchase this product at such an exorbitant price.
Many will argue that the Transition is such a revolutionary product that it will sell at practically any price. Some will cite the price of computers when they first went on the market. When the Macintosh 128K was first released in 1984, Apple asked a purchase price of $2,495. The reason behind this is that the product was revolutionary and it contained functions that had not been utilized before.
The Transition is in the same boat.
There has never been a car that doubles as a small airplane, and manufacturers will try to price it high to gain as much profit from the hysteria as possible. However, if Terrafugia wants their flying automobile to rise off the ground, they should make strides toward making the car more accessible across all pay grades.