Ever wondered what a flying Porsche would look like? Wonder no more; this is it. Porsche has announced it is partnering with Boeing to build a prototype based on the machine you see here.
The latest Porsche, like the new Taycan saloon, is fully electric and – judging by the image so far released – looks pretty sporty; that cockpit has more than a touch of Porsche coupe about it. Zuffenhausen’s latest high-flier would take off and land vertically.
Apart from that little is known, but these are early days for the Porsche-Boeing. The memorandum of understanding the two companies have signed calls for the setting up of a joint team to build and test a prototype, aided by engineers and designers from the Austrian design studio set up in 1972 by 911-designer Ferdinand (“Butzi”) Porsche. That explains the Porsche look then.
“Premium urban air mobility vehicles” are gaining ground among top manufacturers as a means of expanding their transportation offer, making use of the autonomous control, artificial intelligence (AI) and electric motor technologies developed for cars. Key words here are “premium” and “urban”; these machines are being seen at this stage as rich person’s toys for avoiding traffic jams over short distances.
Porsche has forecast this market will begin to take off after 2025. The company believes urban flying machines will be able to transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than cars, and with greater flexibility.
Porsche is not alone among top car-makers in wanting to take to the skies. Audi, with Italdesign, has partnered with Airbus Industries to develop the Pop-Up modular flying car concept that stole the show at FoS FutureLab in 2017. Last year Aston Martin floated the idea of the flying Volante developed in conjunction with Cranfield University and Rolls-Royce Aerospace.
The Audi-Airbus Pop-Up previews “seamless, multi-modal urban mobility” in the form of a two-seat passenger pod that can couple to either a four-wheel platform for road driving or a four-rotor air module, like a giant drone, for short hops in the air. It’s all electric and entirely autonomous, on road and in the air.
The Aston Martin Volante Vision concept is one of a slew of alternative luxury personal transportation ideas from Gaydon in recent years. It previews something different: a flying machine that’s sporty and luxurious with stealth-fighter-meets-Aston-Martin-Valkyrie styling. It’s a three-seater with a trio of hybrid-electric motors powering swivelling propellers for both vertical and horizontal flight.
So what brand attributes would you expect to see in the Porsche-Boeing flying machine? Rewarding handling, everyday practicality and the best 0-62mph? Or should that be the best 0-1000ft…