Those 1950s magazine covers with stylized flying cars zipping around may have been onto something after all. Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan released the results of a study on Tuesday that suggests vertical take-off and landing contraptions—think cars with wings—may make some sense as an eco-friendly alternative to ground transportation thanks to electrification.
There’s a catch, of course.
The study found that electrified VTOLs are most efficient on trips exceeding 62 miles to compensate for energy lost during takeoff and landing. A cruising VTOL is more efficient than a vehicle on the ground that has to slow down and accelerate with the flow of traffic.