A.L.I. Technologies, the Japanese firm developing a race track hoverbike, is now taking deposits for the first commercial units of its machine, according to Robb Report.
The hoverbike, called the XTurismo Limited Edition, uses two large central rotors powered by a 228-hp gas-powered Kawasaki motorcycle performance engine for thrust. Four smaller electric support rotors are also placed on the vehicle's outer edges for stability.
It's one of a number of recent models that seemingly eschew sustainability, at least for the time being, in favor of sheer innovation. Another example is Klein Vision's recently flight-certified AirCar, a transforming flying car that runs using a BMW internal combustion engine.
A.L.I Technologies says its prototype can reach a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), it can hover at an altitude of roughly eight feet (2.4 meters) and it will be able to fly for about 40 minutes when fully charged and fueled up.
Future XTurismo models might be allowed in urban spaces
The hoverbike's lightweight carbon fiber body weighs only 660 lbs (299 kg) and it's roughly 12 feet long (3.65 m). The drive system was co-developed as part of a collaboration between A.L.I. Technologies and Toda Racing. The vehicle uses an automatic control unit designed to enhance safety.
Due to strict regulations for such machines in Japan, the XTurismo Limited Edition will only be allowed to fly, or hover, on race tracks. That makes it $777,000 asking price a pretty tough sell. With A.L.I Technologies only planning to produce 200 units, it was always going to be a niche luxury product. However, Japan did recently grant Tokyo-based startup SkyDrive a safety certificate for its electric flying car, meaning it's not impossible that we might soon see a similar model to the XTurismo out in the wild. In fact, A.L.I Technologies has stated that it eventually wants to mass-produce all-electric hoverbikes for urban use and even for disaster response and search and rescue.
Increasingly, it looks like personal flying cars and hoverbikes will take to the skies in the wake of the flying taxis that could start to take flight in a commercial capacity as early as 2023.