Moller Skycar - Long Time Coming

The M400 kicks off a sweet daydream. Who can’t, after a gasp, imagine themselves cruising at 36,000 feet, zooming along at 360 mph in your own personal flying car, tunes cranking at full blast? Sadly it’s simply too difficult to take it all very seriously.
moller skycar

by Ross Bonander, Contributing Writer

Specs

  • Type: Personal Air Vehicle (PAV)
  • Manufacturer: Moller International
  • Propulsion system:Eight Rotapower duel-fuel Engines
  • Top Speed: 375 mph
  • Zero-to-60: NA
  • MPG: NA
  • Vehicle range: 750 miles
  • Fuel(s): Ethanol or gasoline
  • Tailpipe emissions: Yes

The Manufacturer Says

“Moller International has developed the first and only feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle the world has ever seen.”

“It would look right at home on the set of Bladerunner or the latest Star Wars film, but the Moller M400 Skycar… is definitely for real.” —- gizmag.com

The Critics Say...

“It would look right at home on the set of Bladerunner or the latest Star Wars film, but the Moller M400 Skycar… is definitely for real.” —- gizmag.com

“This matter involves a fraudulent, unregistered offering and the filing of a fraudulent Form 10-SB by Moller International, Inc. ("MI" or "the company"), a California company engaged in the development of a personal aircraft known as ‘the Skycar.’”—From Securities and Exchange Commission v. Moller International Inc and Paul S. Moller, Defendants (U.S.D.C., Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, Civil Action No. 2:03-CV-261)

Overview

So much of the automotive industry runs on the fumes generated by hype; how much air can you blow? And it’s very easy, even for jaded industry veterans, to fall for it, generally because you want to believe. One look at the 4-passenger Moller M400 Skycar and we don’t much care who you are, this is a dynamo—hustler and hooker, the collective futurecars dream.

Then we wake. And it’s a mess. Of the manufacturer’s claims quoted above, namely that the M400 is “feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle”, the one that is hardest to accept—and that almost ruins the dream for us—is the VTOL aspect. This technology requires an extraordinary amount of force and thrust. The manufacture claims it can achieve this with “a patented thrust deflection vane system that redirects thrust.” Could be, but to get an idea of how successful the far-better-funded US Army has been with VTOL, read about the V-22 Osprey. Or better yet, read about the RAF’s Harrier Jump Jet, with which the M400 claims some technological affinity.

What We Like

The design and the cockpit. In the video on this site, watch Adam Savage from Mythbusters gush when he gets in. He’s gushing for all of us, because that is one killer cockpit, purely because of what it suggests for the future.

The fuel. Ethanol, with some suggestion that compressed natural gas (CNG) might also be feasible.

The safety. Emergency parachutes (you won’t likely see that again anytime soon in a car review).

What We Don’t Like

The efficiency. After gasping at so many of the web site’s proposed specifications, 20 mpg is a bit of a disappointment.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the M400 kicks off a sweet daydream. Who can’t, after a gasp, imagine themselves cruising at 36,000 feet, zooming along at 360 mph in your own personal flying car, tunes cranking at full blast? Sadly it’s simply too difficult to take it all too, too seriously. Yet.

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