Alauda Aeronautics – the electric aviation company behind the design of the eVTOLs being developed for the nascent Airspeeder racing series – has unveiled its latest “flying car.” As the next iteration of Airspeeder, the Mk4 is the first to be designed specifically for crewed racing flights as the league moves closer to enabling its racers to compete from the tracks in the skies.
Airspeeder is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) racing league headquartered in London, first announced in November 2021. The league exists as an entity of Alauda Aeronautics – an electric aviation company based in Adelaide, Australia, where the league’s technical HQ is located along with its testing grounds. Alauda designs, engineers, and builds the league’s eVTOL racing aircraft called “Airspeeders.”
Since its initial launch, Alauda and Airspeeder have been assembling teams of racers to compete in development races on the way to a full global competition called the EXA Series. In March of 2022, the series announced former Formula E driver Bruno Senna as an early eVTOL racing pilot and an ambassador to the league.
Meanwhile, Alauda Aeronautics has spent hours upon hours testing its Airspeeder eVTOLs remotely piloted using virtual cockpits on the ground. This past fall, we got our first glimpse of the excitement an eVTOL racing league could bring to motorsport enthusiasts when Airspeeder showcased its first-ever EXA racing event.
At the time, pilots Zephatiali Walsh and Fabio Tishcler were given full license to race their Mk3 Airspeeder eVTOLs blade-to-blade around a one-kilometer-long digital sky-track circuit in Australia.
However, those pilots, once again, competed remotely from the ground. The goal of Airspeeder and the EXA Series has always been to deliver crewed eVTOL racing. Following today’s rendering reveal of the Mk4 Airspeeder, eVTOLs piloted from the sky are now one step closer to reality.
Crewed eVTOL racing gets a sleek new Airspeeder
The public got its first glimpse of the upcoming crew-friendly Mk4 eVTOL in the UK this morning in the form of the renderings from Alauda Aeronautics, seen above in the images and a video below. As the first-ever eVTOL racing league, Airspeeder continues to deliver a running record of firsts with the Mk4.
As previously mentioned, this eVTOL should be the first Airspeeder design that will actually be manually operated by pilots from the air rather than remotely. Additionally, the MK4 is the first Airspeeder utilizing hydrogen technology, as previous models were powered by swappable battery packs.
The core of this technology is a Thunderstrike Hydrogen Turbogenerator, which Airspeeder says can offer 300 kilometers (188 miles) of range. Its 1,000 kW (1,340 hp) turbogenerator powers the entire racing eVTOL, including the aircraft’s “Thunderstrike” motor that incorporates a unique 3D-printed combustor developed for rocket engines. It helps keep the hydrogen flame temperature low while reducing nitrous oxide emissions.
Hydrogen also has a high energy density for being quite lightweight – perfect for small aircraft like eVTOLs. It also produces zero emissions aside from pure water. Alauda Aeronautics CEO Matt Pearson spoke to the new Mk4 racing eVTOL:
We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly-skilled pilots in their fields.
Those blade-to-blade crewed races should be a lot safer with the Mk4, as you’ll notice Alauda has added covers to its gimballed rotors, allowing for better maneuverability but less of a risk of chopping any limbs off. Alauda Aeronautics is donning the upcoming Mk4 as the “world’s fastest eVTOL,” capable of racing to a top speed of 225 mph (360 km/h) in 30 seconds from a standing start.
Airspeeder and Alauda Aeronautics state that flight testing with the Mk4 is already underway in South Australia, with the series’ first crewed races expected sometime in 2024. Check out the debut video of the MK4 rendering below before the crewed racing eVTOL makes its public debut at Southstart Innovation Festival on March 7 in Adelaide.
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