In the 1960s sci-fi cartoon, in the Jetson family, the characters regularly flew in their family-sized aircraft. This may even be a reality in the near future as many aviation companies, including Airbus, Boeing and NASA, are working to develop flying cars.
VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) prototypes are powered by small and efficient electric drives. The researchers looked at the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of practical electric flying cars. They have come to the conclusion that on roads longer than 35 km, flying cars perform better in this area than conventional ones. For example, from San Francisco to San Jose or from Detroit to Cleveland, VTOLs bypass ground cars.
The research team used a computer simulation to compare the efficiencies of conventional internal combustion engines (ICEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and VTOL aircraft. Although an electric flying car does not emit greenhouse gases at all, it needs electricity generated in power plants to charge its batteries. With this in mind, research has shown that a flying car with a driver and three passengers sitting on a 100km road was more environmentally friendly than a normal car. The flying car’s emissions were 52% lower than those of a car powered by a conventional internal combustion engine and 6% less than that of an electric car.
The researchers analyzed the four phases of VTOl flight: takeoff, takeoff, travel, descent, and landing. Their results show that the aircraft used a lot of energy when taking off and climbing, but relatively little when traveling at 240 km / h. Overall, they were more efficient on longer journeys when much of the journey is done at cruising altitude. On roads shorter than 35 km, cars with a conventional one-passenger engine performed better than cars with flying cars. This is important because an average car in a car is usually around 17 km, so the advantage of flying cars would mostly not prevail. Consequently, the role of these vehicles in the sustainable mobility system is rather limited. In crowded cities, they could be useful as part of a taxi service and for longer trips.