Flying cars are here (almost)

The Alef Model A is an electric car with rotors that can lift it vertically and propel it forward through the air.

A California tech startup has designed a flying car that actually looks like a car. The CEO brought it to Detroit's auto show.

Henry Ford built his first Model A at the original Mack Avenue factory in Detroit in 1903.

120 years later, a California company has developed its own Model A. But unlike Ford’s, this one was made to fly.

“It looks similar to a sports car.” — Jim Dukhovny, Alef Aeronautics CEO, describing the flying car he helped design.

Alef Aeronautics displayed its flying car concept at the 2023 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It looks like a car. It also drives like a car. But underneath its grated body lie eight rotors that lift it into the air.

Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny says once the car is airborne, it can fly forward.

“In order to fly forward, it transitions into a biplane mode,” he says, adding that it’s nearly impossible to describe for radio.

Dukhovny says the Model A can go pretty high, but he doesn’t advise that.

Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny describes his flying car.

“You’re going to drain your battery,” he says. “It’s very efficient in forward flight, but not very efficient in the vertical.”

Dukhovny also notes that the cabin is not pressurized, which limits its altitude capabilities.

How fast is it?

Dukhovny says the first drivable Model A will be a low-speed electric vehicle, which will get it on the market sooner.

“The limit is about 25 to 35 miles per hour,” he says. “But eventually it will be able to go 120 mph.”

More: New podcast explores auto industry’s shift to electric vehicles

The Model A will be a fully functioning car on the road. But Dukhovny says weather will affect its performance in the air.

“There may be something above you, you may not be legally allowed to take off,” he says. “Not in any weather you can’t fly.”

It won’t be long now

Dukhonvy says he drew the initial concept on a napkin but credits his partners with creating the real thing.

“The exterior was designed by Hirash Razaghi, who worked on Bugattis,” he says. “It looks similar to a sports car.”

Dukhovny hopes to have the flying car on the market in Canada by 2025. It may take longer in the U.S. The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Alef permission to begin flight tests.

Alef is taking pre-orders for the Model A with an estimated price of $299,999.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.