The first virtual 2021 CES had its fair share of surprises, but none shook us more than Carcopter, a flying Formula 1 racing car powered by hydrogen. Cadillac also presented its VTOL personal drone at CES 2021, but Carcopter is a different flying machine. Instead of ferrying passengers in the sky, it’s a flying car designed for high-speed racing.
Carcopter is the handiwork of French startup MACA. The futuristic design is courtesy of former Airbus executive Michael Krollak and ex-fighter pilot Thierry de Boisvilliers. While the goal is to replace old gasoline-powered F1 cars to reduce global emissions, Carcopter is attempting to become the first-ever, human-piloted flying Formula 1 car capable of reaching airspeeds up to 153 mph.
However, MACA’s Carcopter at CES is a small-scale model measuring over eight feet long, but the production version will be twice the size and weigh over half a ton. It has built-in hydrogen tanks and fuel cells that send power to six 35kW electric motors, and it will have a more extended range than conventional battery-electric vehicles. Also, Carcopter can be theoretically piloted in semi-autonomous mode.
At this point, flying cars belong to the realms of science fiction, but Carcopter begs to differ. If all goes well, MACA expects the production model to take off by the end of 2021 and launch the vehicle on various Formula 1 circuits worldwide. We have no word on the ceiling altitude of Carcopter, but we do know it can rise off the ground and fly towards the checkered flag.
Hydrogen fuel-cell technology is touted by many as the saving grace of propulsion technology. California-based startup Hyperion recently wowed Las Vegas with its magnificent XP-1 hydrogen hypercar, and Toyota aims to promote hydrogen technology with its redesigned 2021 Mirai sedan. On the other hand, Carcopter is looking to the future without diluting the essence of professional racing.
At the very least, Carcopter is the best-looking flying car we’ve seen in a while, and we can’t wait to see it in action in the future seasons of Formula 1.