Freedom... is a flying bike.
One of the world’s first flying bikes, called XTURISMO, just made its sizzling debut last week at the Detroit Auto Show. Levitating a couple feet off the ground with a grown man seated upright as if they were riding any ol’ motorcycle, it’s truly a futuristic — and almost uncanny — sight to behold. If it looks like a motorcycle crossed with a drone, that's because that's essentially what is.
Driven by a Kawasaki hybrid engine, XTURISMO is apparently able to fly for 40 minutes, with a top speed of up to 62 miles per hour. You have to wonder, though, how much shorter its flight time might be if you propelled the hoverbike at highway speeds without stopping. Still, given how nascent the technology is, we’re impressed.
Among the first to ride the hoverbike was Thad Szott, co-chair of the Detroit Auto Show, and his enthusiasm over the ride experience was palpable.
"I mean, it's awesome!" Szott told the press, quoted by Reuters. "Of course, you have a little apprehension, but I was just so amped. I literally had goosebumps and feel like a little kid," he said.
As to what the ride quality was actually like, Szott said that it was "comfortable. There was no, like, jerky-jerky." Poetically spoken.
Reportedly already available in Japan, a smaller version is being prepared for a US release, currently slated for sometime in 2023. The starting price? A whopping $777,000. By 2025, its designers, Delaware-based but Japanese-owned startup AERWINS Technologies, hope to bring that price down to a drastically more reasonable $50,000.
And if AERWINS is planning to release this in the US, Motor City is the place to earn itself some cred.
"It's very exciting for us to be here in Detroit," AERWINS founder and CEO Shuhei Komatsu told The Detroit News, obviously buttering up his host city. "Detroit is the home of the mobility industry."
XTURISMO still has a lot of hurdles to clear before it becomes practical. It's still noisy, needed to be remotely controlled for its demonstration, and as a piece of electric vertical take-off and landing technology (eVTOL), it's currently not street legal. But what XTURISMO does have going for it is that it's undeniably cool.
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