Aska, a firm based in the United States, has unveiled a full-scale prototype of its A5 drive-and-fly electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle at CES 2023. According to the business, uncrewed flight testing of the fully working prototype will commence in the first quarter.
In drive mode, the four-seat A5 has tandem wings that stow on top of the SUV-sized car and unfold for flight. Four in-wheel motors provide all-wheel drive for road use. Six propellers are installed on the wings for flight—four fixed props for vertical lift and two tilting props for lift and thrust for forward flight.
The vehicle is designed to be able to take off and land conventionally on its wings, consuming less energy, as well as conduct a short takeoff using the in-wheel engines to accelerate to liftoff speed. The A5 can take off in less than 5 seconds with a 250-foot ground roll, according to Aska co-founder and CEO Guy Kaplinksi.
The A5 is propelled by a hybrid-electric powertrain system that combines lithium-ion batteries with a gasoline engine to enhance range. According to him, this enables a flight range of 250 miles and at least 30 minutes of reserve flight time, as well as redundant energy sources and independence from ground charging infrastructure. In the event of an emergency, the aircraft may glide to a safe landing, and a ballistic recovery parachute for the entire aircraft is incorporated.
While the A5 may be driven on roadways, it must take off and land at an FAA-approved location, which can be a helipad, vertiport, or uncontrolled airport. The main benefit is that the A5 doesn’t need a charging station, a terminal, or other infrastructure because the vehicle is drivable.