(Yicai Global) Nov. 17 -- Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. [HK:0175] said it will acquire American flying car developer Terrafugia Inc.
Flying cars may sound like science fiction, but the technology is emerging, Zhitongcaijing quoted Geely Chairman Li Shufu as saying. Li is pursuing his dream to manufacture flying cars thourgh the deal. All relevant agencies, including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), have approved the transaction.
Geely has made overseas acquisitions before. It bought Malaysian automaker Proton Holdings Berhad and British sports carmaker Lotus Car, known as Lutesi in Chinese.
Terrafugia focuses on designing and producing flying cars and has successfully developed several prototypes such as the Transition and TF-X. The group plans to roll out its first flying car for the market in 2019, and the world's first vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) car in 2023. Terrafugia has a research and development facility in Hangzhou in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang and will mass produce cars in China.
Three major flying car manufacturers are Slovakia-based Aeromobil s.r.o., Terrafugia and Dutch-based PAL-V International BV. Aeromobil makes a model dubbed the Aeromobil and PAL-V produces the Liberty.
The Aeromobil flies faster than the Transition and Liberty at 200 kilometers per hour. PAL-V's vehicles boast the highest maximum takeoff weight. The Transition's air and ground ranges best those of the Liberty and Aeromobil.
Terrafugia's TF-X flying concept car has four seats and features semi-autonomous driving and folding-wing VTOL. It has a maximum flight speed of 322 km/h, 122 km/h, and an air range of more than 805 kilometers, outdoing the Transition by 15 kilometers. Terrafugia is an industry leader in terms of performance.
Geely holds four seats accounting for nearly 60 percent of Terrafugia's newly announced board
Geely's private equity investment into the developing market of flying cars comes with high risk and high potential for return. Terrafugia's valuation may increase through financing rounds, producing premium income that may improve the company's performance.