Building a car is no easy task. Building a car with a new propulsion system not available off the shelf makes that task even harder. Building a car with a new propulsion system that can also fly— well, treacherous might be the best word to describe that.
Alef Aeronautics is working to create the world’s first production flying car. The Alef Model A is a sleek, electric, flying car that looks like a somewhat normal ground vehicle. Many flying cars aiming to enter the market don’t hit the “looks like a car” box. Jim Dukhovny never liked that.
Jim Dukhovny is the CEO of Alef Aeronautics. Immigrating to America after the fall of the Soviet Union, Dukhovny spent his formative years living in Palo Alto at the epicenter of the tech boom. Jim’s late father, Leonid Dukhovny, was an engineer and a well-known singer-songwriter.
Learning from his father, Dukhovny says that any successful venture must incorporate both creativity and practical engineering. To put his vision into action, he had the opportunity to start a new company eight years ago.
Founded in a Palo Alto-based coffee shop in 2015, Alef Aeronautics is working towards one goal: building the first flying car. Starting from a napkin drawing, Dukhovny and three engineers, Pavel Markin, Dr. Constantine Kisly, and Oleg Petrov set out to conquer the uncharted territories of flying cars. On the path to the vehicle, the team wooed investors, including Tim Draper, a Series C and D investor in Tesla.
Currently in the prototyping stages, the Alef Aeronautics team is working on what they have dubbed “Model A.” The Model A aims to be the first flying car on the market, and the firm has a strict brand identity— to keep its flying car looking like a car.
While the design may appear ambiguous at first glance, it is actually quite straightforward. Effectively, the passengers sit inside a capsule at the center of the vehicle. Surrounding the capsule is a car-dimension-sized frame that houses…
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