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Mon, Nov 13, 2023

Another Ugly Flying Car Design Arises

Subaru Hopes Model A Concept Shows the Way of the Future

Subaru showed off a new concept for a “flying car” in the form of their Model A at the Japan Mobility Show held in late October.

The design is, as seems to increasingly be the norm these days, ungainly. The design requirements for an electric or sustainable, vertical takeoff aircraft only leave so much styling to be done, of course, but the homely assortment of rotors, ports, and blade guards are hard to assemble in a way that carries the grace of a well-sorted automobile or fixed-wing aircraft. The Subaru model sports 6 large rotors arranged in a roughly hexagonal arrangement, each ducted and faired for maximum protection from accidental contact (in the horizontal plane, at least). In a somewhat blessed change from other would-be eVTOL concepts, the Model A at least has some comforting design elements in common with the average automobile today, sporting some LED head and tail lights. Combined with the blacked out, glassy passenger compartment, the aircraft at least carries enough “car” to feel like a flying car concept.

Performance remains mysterious, since the design remains a slippery computer rendered hypothesis. What kind of powertrain will it sport? Don’t know. How many passengers can it carry? Who knows. Attendees of the Japan Mobility Show relayed that Subaru said it’s working with engineers on developing a functional demonstrator, but much more than that remains a mystery. The Model A was accompanied by a similarly CGI-rendered concept in the form of an electric sports car, the Sport Mobility Concept. Given the usual electric expectations in the industry today, particularly the zeitgeist of Japanese air taxis, it should be a safe bet to assume the Model A will be powered by battery packs and recharged from the ground.



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