Thursday, June 8, 2023

ASKA unveils the world’s first drive and fly eVTOL at CES 2023

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No, it’s not CES if some futuristic vehicle isn’t presented there. At CES 2023 Las Vegas, the California-based startup ASKA presented a first fully-functional prototype of the ASKA A5 electric drive and fly Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle.

The size of an SUV, the ASKA A5 is the world’s first four-seater electric vehicle that is capable of driving on the road and flying up to 250 miles (402 km) on a single charge. The company claims the vehicle will hit both roads and skies in 2026.

The ASKA A5 bridges the best in modern automotive and aviation design. The eVTOL has large wings, which feature six rotors, that fold back in drive mode. It is powered by a proprietary power system that features lithium-ion battery packs and a gasoline engine that acts as an onboard range extender. This dual energy source delivers a 250-mile flight range.

In drive mode, the ASKA A5 includes in-wheel motor technology, which allows all four wheels to be placed outside the fuselage for all-wheel-drive traction, better aerodynamics, and maximized interior space to comfortably seat 4 passengers. In flying mode, the vehicle’s wings with six rotors unfold, allowing the vehicle to either take off vertically or do conventional runway takeoffs. What’s interesting is the eVTOL can take off vertically anywhere a helicopter could, but it can also take off from a conventional runway. Conventional runway takeoff and landing can improve the vehicle’s energy consumption efficiency.

ASKA requires only a compact space to perform a vertical takeoff or landing and can fit in existing parking spaces. The vehicle can be charged at home and EV charging stations, and the range extender engine runs on premium gasoline purchased at existing automotive gas stations.

The same dual-power arrangement acts as a safety feature and provides a minimum of 30 minutes of reserve flight time, which is a critical requirement by the FAA today. ASKA also includes a ballistic parachute in case of emergency to float the whole thing back to earth safely.

ASKA A5 is already available for pre-order. The company is developing an affordable on-demand ride-sharing service that utilizes its eVTOL vehicles. Targeting availability in major cities and surrounding areas by 2026, ASKA’s ride-sharing program will have certified pilots pick ride-share customers up at their homes and fly them to their destinations. Until then, the company will work to obtain certification from the FAA. Full-scale flight testing will start after the CES.

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