Actual real-life hoverbike makes US debut at Detroit Auto Show
'I feel like I'm literally 15 years old and I just got out of Star Wars and jumped on their bike,' says test driver
In a galaxy not so far, far away – this one, actually – a Japanese startup demonstrated its $777,000 "hoverbike" at the Detroit Auto Show.
The concept is best known as the transport of choice for hapless stormtroopers chasing down rebel scum on the forest moon of Endor in a scene from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
It's a motorbike-like vehicle that eschews wheels to glide a meter or so above the ground thanks to the Star Wars universe's mystical "repulsorlift engine" that creates a field of "negative gravity."
Unfortunately, AERWINS Technologies' "XTURISMO" has no such technology under the hood, instead appearing to scale up a quadcopter-ish design common in unmanned aerial vehicles to be able to lift a human.
XTURISMO made its US debut on Thursday and Thad Szott, co-chair of the motor show, was lucky enough to give it a test drive – although it was remotely controlled.
"I feel like I'm literally 15 years old and I just got out of Star Wars and jumped on their bike," he told media.
"I mean, it's awesome! Of course, you have a little apprehension, but I was just so amped. I literally had goosebumps and feel like a little kid."
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According to the specs, the XTURISMO weighs 300kg with a maximum range of 40km and top speed of 80-100kph. Power is provided by internal combustion with a battery, and the recommended payload is 100kg.
Not that the vehicle is certified for road use. If you were to shell out the cosmic asking price today, you'd only be able to operate it on open fields, wetlands, lakes, deserts, and other such terrain where no one is going to get hurt.
According to Electric VTOL News – who knew there was a dedicated publication for the vertical take-off and landing scene? – the company is working on getting the vehicle licensed for "flying on roads and in the urban air space by 2023."
The XTURISMO is already on sale in Japan and should come to the US market next year. There are also plans to produce a smaller $50,000 electric model by 2025.
AERWINS is looking to list on the NASDAQ via a merger with a special acquisition company that values it at $600 million.
As for that road certification, we say: good luck. ®