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GM's Barra talks flying cars and transforming the automaker

By Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

DETROIT - The idea of flying cars is back on the table at General Motors in its pursuit of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

The automaker is considering options in the aerial taxi market. Yeah, that's right, flying cars. Those options could include making the air taxis or partnering with another firm to make them, a spokesman for GM confirmed.

"It's certainly a space we're considering," said Stuart Fowle, GM spokesman. "As Mary Barra said, when we think about Ultium and all of its potential, aerial is an area we're looking at it."

It's not the first time GM has talked about the idea. In 2018, GM's Mike Abelson, vice president of global strategy, told the audience at the FT Future of the Car Summit USA in Detroit that GM has had conversations with "air taxi" companies about using the carmaker's autonomous and electric vehicle technology to create flying cars.

But now GM CEO Mary Barra is talking about it and transforming the company.

'Natural next step'

 

Barra mentioned the air taxi idea during her prepared remarks at an RBC Capital Markets virtual conference Monday. It was the first time she'd made such a reference in the context of describing how GM could further capitalize on its development of EVs and its proprietary Ultium advanced electric battery system.

"We believe strongly in our EV future and not just for vehicles, the strength and flexibility of our Ultium battery systems open doors for many use cases, including aerial mobility, which represents a natural next step in a zero emissions vision," Barra said.

This most recent confirmation that GM is looking at flying cars was first reported by Reuters, which said an announcement by GM about a partnership or work in this space could come as soon as next year.

"We have nothing further to say about timing," Fowle said. "But it's an exciting space for us and something we're looking at. We're exploring the right way to do it and we're not shy about taking on partners or doing it ourselves. It's early in the area of flying cars ... we're always talking to a lot of people."

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