Scaled Composites: BiPod 367 by Burt Rutan, the hybrid flying car
Created by the company Scaled Composites (also in charge of the development of Virgin Galactic aircrafts), and designed by his former boss who retired in April, the BiPod 367 is a real UFO: a hybrid flying car with range extender or if you prefer an hybrid roadable aircraft...
This 2 seater vehicle has been developed by Burt Rutan, designer of many strange aircrafts, maximizing in-flight efficiency (see video below). It only took four months between the first drawings and the inaugural flight on March 30th.
The BiPod has two cockpits, the left one is intended to drive the car and the right one to fly the aircraft, the accelerator is the only common feature between the two cockpits.
About the propulsion, there is a 450cc engine in each fuselage, they are used as generator and provide the electricity needed to operate the two 15kW electric motors associated to the rear wheels.
In flight, these engines generate the electricity to the four propellers driven by 15kW electric motors each.
Lithium batteries are placed in the nose, they are constantly fed by the combustion engines and provide the additional power for takeoff and a reserve for at least two landing attempts in case of engine failure.
The wingspan of the BiPod is 9.48 m with the wings and only 2.17m when they are removed. About the performances, Burt Rutan’s team achieved impressive specifications for their last experimental prototype. Scaled Composites announces that the bipod could travel, 850km at about 320kph or 160km at 1220kph in airplane mode, while the car could achieve a 1320km range on a full gas tank and 56km in electric mode only with fully charged batteries.
An other aircraft using the same hybrid propulsion was recently presented by EADS, it is the DA36 E-Star, and a flying car is currently under development, the Terrafugia