With the decline and fall of the conventional idea of car dealerships and cars in general, luxury brands like Ferrari and Rolls Royce are taking transportation to a new level.
In order to avoid a similar fate, some manufacturers are competing to be at the forefront of tech.
Rolls-Royce wants to compete with Uber and Airbus with its flying taxi concept. But Automobili Pininfarina of Ferrari fame wants to produce an electric hypercar.
Moving forward, is this the best way for luxury brands to stay relevant?
Battery Powered Hypercar With 250 MPH Capabilities
Even those who know little about cars probably know a Ferrari when they see one.
The iconic Italian supercar line comes from the Pininfarina design house. Automobili Pininfarina, an offshoot, revealed their plans for its first production car — the PFO.
It resembles something out of Bladerunner 2049 or other cyberpunk art and media. It has a range of 300 miles on a single charge. Moreover, it only takes around 10 to 15 minutes to get up to 80% battery.
CEO Michael Perschke says that the hypercar is about more than just speed, however.
The Ferrari design house comes with many highly recognizable fans such as Eric Clapton and Jackie Kennedy. Perschke hopes that the attention to sustainability and practicality will garner more fans in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.
“We will not have a large department. We’d rather talk to others like Apple, Google, and Salesforce who are into technology, and integrate them rather than do our own systems. OEMs are still defending infotainment architecture. I’m happy to fully integrate an iPhone. But do you need to sell infotainment systems at a surplus of another $5000?”
Perschke went on to tell The Verge that open source systems grant more speed and accessibility. Of course, the hypercar comes with a $2-million USD price tag.
That makes this car from a company known for expensive performance cars even more of a status symbol and statement.
A 5-Person air Taxi Traveling at…Also 250 MPH
“Flying taxis and roadless cities…” says the ad campaign for the new Rolls-Royce air taxi. And you read correctly — it can also travel at speeds up to 250 mph like the proposed electric hypercar.
The company says that the vehicle could be ready in the mid-2020s at the earliest. But the luxury car company isn’t the only one looking to corner this market.
Audi partnered with Airbus for its flying taxi concept to be tested in Germany. Uber employed five separate partners for its concept. Of course, with its most recent attempt at self-driving cars, many wonder what will become of their other projects.
Despite this, the Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (EVTOL) vehicle will carry four to five passengers. It can land on almost any landing spot with wings that rotate 90 degrees.
However, it won’t be entirely electric as gas turbines will make 500kW of power necessary for the taxi’s six propellers. Did we mention that those propellers are foldable?
They disappear once the craft reaches cruising height in order to give the passengers and people below them better views.
Billed as a tool for “personal air mobility”, the craft will be for private and commercial use. The company has also suggested that it could come in handy for military or cargo uses.