As of late, it sometimes seems that the auto industry has devolved to the point that company execs do nothing but make fluffy PR statements in response to each other. In other words, anytime there’s buzz in the media about something or other, the execs at large auto manufacturers feel compelled to send out “me too” statements to the press.
With that in mind, the recent comments by Porsche’s head of sales, Detlev von Platen, concerning possible flying car models should be considered. Porsche, you’ll recall, is part of the broader VW Group array of brands.
The vague comments from von Platen follow on announcements from various startups concerning the release of flying cars to the market within the near future. Perhaps most notable in this regard are: Volocopter (which Daimler is backing); and Terrafugia (which Geely is backing).
“That would really make sense. If I drive from (the Porsche plant in) Zuffenhausen to Stuttgart airport, I need at least half an hour, if I’m lucky. Flying would take only 3 and a half minutes,” commented von Platen in an interview with Automobilwoche.
Reuters provides more: “Porsche would join a raft of companies working on designs for flying cars in anticipation of a shift in the transport market away from conventional cars to self-driving vehicles shared via ride-hailing apps.”
“Volkswagen’s auto designer Italdesign and Airbus at last year’s Geneva auto show presented a two-seater flying car, called Pop.Up, designed to avoid gridlock on city roads. The magazine said that under Porsche’s plans, passengers would be able to have some control over the flying vehicle themselves but would not need a pilot license because many of the car’s functions would be automated.”
Is the Porsche exec serious with his comments? Will Porsche end up developing a flying car? Or are these comments simply meant to generate buzz?
For the time being, I’ll note that I remain highly skeptical that flying cars will ever be deployed in anything more than niche applications (i.e. for very rich people living in highly congested urban environments).
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