Alauda Aeronautics has unveiled the first crewed version of its flying racing car, the Airspeeder Mk4. With a top speed of 360 kph (225 mph), the Airspeeder Mk4 is the world’s fastest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. With its electric propulsion system and a take-off weight (MTOW) of just 950 kg, the Airspeeder Mk4 has a projected range of 300 km (188 miles) while producing near-zero emissions. The new aircraft is a development of the remotely-piloted Mk3, which has successfully completed more than 350+ test flights and took part in two Airspeeder demonstration races in South Australia in 2022.
The Mk4 is intended for racing powered by a 1,000 kW (1,340 horsepower) turbogenerator that feeds power to the batteries and motors. Designed for use in eVTOLs, this technology allows green hydrogen to be used as fuel.
Alauda Aeronautics’ demonstrator ‘Thunderstrike’ engine also has a combustor made using 3D printing techniques developed in the space industry for rocket engines. The combustor’s design keeps the hydrogen flame temperature relatively low, hence, reducing nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions.
Alauda Aerospace plans to begin flight testing the Mk4 chassis and powertrain, including the first crewed flights of the airframe, in the first quarter of 2023. The aircraft will be ready to take the start line at the Airspeeder Racing Championship in 2024.
“We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, and attracted sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative, and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers, and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly-skilled pilots in their fields.” – Matt Pearson, CEO, Alauda Aeronautics
The company is also seeking OEM partners to further develop this technology within motorsport.