Published on September 14th, 2012 | by James Ayre


Time to Move onto Flying Cars, Tesla Investor Tells Big Auto Companies

September 14th, 2012 by  


Tim Draper, the founder of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and one of the original and primary financial backers of Tesla when it began, said that with the release of the Model S and the continued expansion of their electric vehicle line, Detroit’s ‘Big 3’ automakers should give up on the electric car market and move onto flying cars or something.

“The Model S is Tesla’s most crucial launch and it has said the vehicle will account for 90 percent of its revenue this year. Tesla has said it expects to deliver 5,000 Model S sedans by year end and 20,000 in 2013, compared to the 13,500 Volts and about 4,230 Leafs GM and Nissan have sold to date.”

Source: Reuters
Image Credit: Model S via Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Steve Wiencek

    Thanks Timmy for that worldly advice. The big 3 should heed your warnings or else.

  • Rick…..I wouldn’t tell you this here and embarrass you, if I had a private way to tell you…..Keshe is no more legit than L.Ron Hubbard.
    If you want some proof of that, I can hook you up with some physicists from eight or ten top schools…MIT, or whomever… you can pick.
    I think having nuke reactors operate as long as 50 years without a hitch gives at least SOME credibility to us scientists….we’re not as dumb as you may think.
    All the baseless so called inventions like the “E-Cat” and such, are phoney/baloney.
    The US patent office won’t grant patents on perpetual motion devices if that’s what they appear to be, and most of these aberations claim to be one.

    • Conrad Clement

      What the heck do perpetual motion devices and “flying cars or something” have in common?

      Flying cars or roadable aircraft, with folding wings like birds, are indeed ineligible as successors of the motorcar — simply because folding wings are too clumsy on the road, especially in town, except for rotary wings. However, rotary wing designs with fold-back rotor blades, as the Dutch three-wheeled motorbike / giroplane, are bad performers in the air, though fairly good on the road. Alas, like the chopper, gyroplanes suffer a number of redhibitory vices mainly due to wildly asymmetric gyroscopic hover inertia and cruising aerodynamics.

      The long known solution of leaving the airframe behind at the airport has yet to be updated to become eligible as a popular mass-product, since small-to-medium towns have typically one airport only, thus fatally limiting parking space.

      Now, is this anymore a problem today?

      Not so with UL tiltrotor airframes, as the whole plane can land anywhere at the urban periphery, not even needing ground space when docking to a perch and winching the wheeled cockpit to the ground…

      Personal ultra-light electric tilt-rotor aircraft replacing the motorcar will leave the ultra-light electric mini-city-car as the only survivor of the automobile era for individual intercity mobility, making it easy to convert all level-crossings to roundabouts, and all city streets to one-way roads, which is mandatory for ultra-light cars as passive safety measures.

      This is no abstruse vision of an idealist — it is indeed the only practicable solution to avoid disaster when Russia, China and India will have to decide whether or not they really want to go full steam for the motorcar — not to mention Africa.

      But by then, Africa will be able to profit from our personal aircraft technology to ensure individual mobility without covering the continent with tens of thousands of miles of motorways — exactly as it is profiting right now from our personal telephones for the mobility of informations without covering the whole continent with tens of thousands of miles of copper wires…

      Again, landing anywhere at the urban periphery with a personal VERTOL aircraft and driving downtown with its cockpit changes the game.

      Yet the only eligible concept known to date is the military V22 Osprey — alas, known to be unable to auto-rotate (which is mandatory for civil certification). Its civil version, the BA-609, launched in 2002 and transferred to Europe years later, is still grounded in Italy after Bell recently sold it to it’s former partner Agusta-Westland under an agreement preventing any new military developments of being transferred to the civil prototype, now called the AW-609

      This agreement clearly denotes that the intent of the US tenants of power is to keep it grounded — by fear that the civil society might take possession of the global airspace with myriads of personal aircraft — thus threatening the US Air Force’s absolute control of the global airspace, based on supersonic fighter-bombers and, increasingly, on an unknown number of drones of unknown types (don’t trust officially available information — it’s top classified geostrategic stuff).

      The curtailing of the civil tilt-rotor version by the US tenants of power (as precluded since the military project was launched in the eighties) has left the AW-609 with its redhibitory vice called “inability to safely land in the auto-rotation emergency mode” (as is mandatory for civil certification — yet which has already caused the death of 30 military personnel). This safety problem has indeed not been addressed by the military until most recently when the US Army issued a call for submissions to private US companies for the development of a variable/reversible twist rotor blade, after claiming that they want to use the aircraft for other purposes than the high risk combat missions assigned to it exclusively to date by the Navy and Air Force.

      The imminent solution (although probably classified under oath — yet bound to leak sooner or later into the public domain) is deemed to wake up a sleeping giant called “massively popularized airborne individual intercity mobility” based on personal tilt-rotor aircraft with a separable cockpit usable as an electric mini-car for individual urban mobility.

      And fully automated flight is long-standing state-of-the-art! Personal electronic highways projected into the airspace will be followed by personal fully automatic pilots as safely as fully automatic trains are already following their hardened steel rails, thus enabling personal fast-cruising ultra-light electric tilt-rotor aircraft to dramatically enhance individual freedom of movement!

  • Rick Crammond

    Flying cars are coming, but it won’t be with wings and propellors, but with positive lift from magnetic-gravitational fields generated from a plasma reactor. The Keshe Foundation is currently working on it, and claim to have discovered the keys to overcoming gravity.
    The Tesla Motors and Elon Musk would be well advised to move in the direction of mag-grav fields for transportation, especially into space.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Give us a heads-up when their factory floats off into space. I want to snap some pictures….

  • Oh I get it! He is joking. I was about to call him an idiot. Yeah Tesla may own their butts now in the electric car market but we still have a ways to go before we can call Tesla a big three competitor. Wouldn’t be sad to see that day come though.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Car manufacturers typically spend over a billion dollars to bring a new car model to market. Tesla certainly didn’t have a billion dollars to spend bringing first their Roadster and then the S to the road.

    • yeah, clever one. 😀

      Not sure if Tesla will ever become a big 3, but not a bad way to win some media points and have some fun. 😀

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