Not impressed with Tesla Motors' line of all-electric cars so far? The company's billionaire founder, Elon Musk, says he's still thinking of new ways to wow you, as long as he can get the technological kinks ironed out.
Flying cars have of course long been one of the staples of future-tech featured in science fiction, along with videophone watches and talking household robots. The vertically liberated vehicles have appeared in tales as diverse as Blade Runner and The Jetsons.
Other than a few prototypes, however, viable real-world airborne automobiles have eluded us so far, so you'll be forgiven for assuming that Musk was mostly taking the mickey when he suggested that a flying car might be one of Tesla's next projects.
But at just 42 years old, Musk is the man who has already brought us not just a revolutionary line of all-electric cars, but one of the most promising commercial space exploration ventures, to boot, in the form of SpaceX. So when it comes to the prospect of aerial motoring, don't be surprised if he's not just talking about flights of fancy.
"We could definitely make a flying car – but that's not the hard part," Musk said on Sunday. "The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that's super safe and quiet? Because if it's a howler, you're going to make people very unhappy."
Speaking of howlers, even though Musk wouldn't commit to taking Tesla cars to the skies, he did say the company was still definitely working on a submersible car that could drive underwater.
In 2013, Musk was revealed as the anonymous buyer who spent a cool £550,000 on the white Lotus Esprit submarine car that was featured in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
At the time, Musk suggested that he might have his engineers transform the collector piece – which is said to be fully operational underwater but is not road-worthy – into an actual transforming vehicle that could go from water to land. But even if that proves too challenging, Musk said he has definitely given the green light to an amphibian car of some type.
"We will be making a submarine car. It can transition from being a submarine to a car that drives up on the beach," Musk said. Though he added, "Maybe we'll make two or three, but it wouldn't be more than that. It's not like we'd sell it, because I think the market for submarine cars is quite small." ®