Artistic rendering of an electric VTOL taxi
Artistic rendering of an electric VTOL taxi cruising through an urban center. (Dave Brenner/University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability)

A new study of the environmental sustainability impacts of flying cars (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or VTOLs) finds that they wouldn’t be suitable for a short commute but could be valuable in congested cities or in places where there are geographical constraints.

The found that for trips of 62 miles, a fully loaded VTOL carrying a pilot and three passengers had lower greenhouse gas emissions than ground-based cars with an average vehicle occupancy of 1.54. Emissions were 52 percent lower than gasoline vehicles and 6 percent lower than battery-electric vehicles.