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Flying car firm Alef hits 2,850 preorders, worth over $850 million


Alef CEO: 2025 target for flying car 'actually pretty realistic'

BARCELONA, Spain — Alef Aeronautics, a flying car firm backed by high-profile venture capitalist Tim Draper, says it has reached 2,850 preorders for its futuristic electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle.

Alef Aeronautics, which is based in San Mateo, California, said preorder numbers recently hit a fresh record after previously reporting 2,500 preorders for its two-seater flying car, the Alef Model A.

Customers can access preorders for the Model A online, and to preorder, you have to put down a $150 deposit for the vehicle. Customers can pull the deposit at any time if they want to, so they’re not locked in.

Alef is planning to charge customers $300,000 for the Model A when it becomes commercially available — so on 2,850 preorders, that would give it a combined order value of more than $850 million to date.

“As of today we have a little bit more than 2,850 preorders with deposits down, which makes it the bestselling aircraft in history, more than Boeing, Airbus, Joby Aviation and most of the eVTOLs [electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles] combined,” Alef’s CEO, Jim Dukhovny, told CNBC.

At a price of $300,000, Alef is asking its prospective customers to part with a lot of cash. Dukhovny insists the higher price tag is needed as Alef is still a startup and isn’t making any serious money yet.

Alef Aeronautics’ Model A car, which it showed off at Mobile World Congress as a half-size model, resembles an actual car with a mesh shell protecting rotors on the inside that allow air to flow through the vehicle.

David Zorrakino | Europa Press | Getty Images

Alef is separately working on a four-person sedan, though, the Model Z, which is scheduled for launch by 2035 at a price of $35,000, matching that of cheaper-priced electric vehicles.

Alef is one of several startups attempting to make flying cars a reality. Others include U.S. company Joby Aviation and Lilium, the Germany-based air taxi startup. Last year, South Korean telecom firm SK Telecom told CNBC it plans to launch a flying taxi service in partnership with Joby Aviation in 2025.

Alef is backed by the likes of early Tesla investor Tim Draper who has also invested in Elon Musk’s space exploration firm SpaceX.

Musk has previously been a notable skeptic of flying cars, having said he doesn’t think they’re a good fix for road traffic.

“If somebody doesn’t maintain their flying car, it could drop a hubcap and guillotine you,” Musk said in a 2017 Bloomberg interview, when asked about the topic. “Your anxiety level will not decrease as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.”

How does Alef’s car work?

Most of the players on the market currently are building models that resemble a jet and come with wings attached to the sides, or big helicopter-like rotors.

What Alef is going for is a much more different style of vehicle. The company’s Model A car, which it showed off at the Mobile World Congress as a half-size model, resembles an actual car with a mesh shell…



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Flying car firm Alef hits 2,850 preorders, worth over $850 million

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