Chinese investor buys licence for Slovakia’s flying car project

Chinese investor buys licence for Slovakia’s flying car project
AirCar is a sports car that transforms into a light aircraft at the click of a button. / AirCar
By bne IntelliNews March 27, 2024

Slovakia’s AirCar project has sold its licence to a Chinese investor for an undisclosed sum.

AirCar is a dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle that transforms from sports car into light aircraft at the click of a button. A prototype completed its first inter-city flight from Nitra to Bratislava in 2021.

Referring to its sources, the liberal daily DennikN wrote that “the licence was sold for about the same price” as the entire AirCar development has cost, “in the volume of €2mn”.

With the returns, AirCar is set to complete production plans in Slovakia for the European and American markets.  

DennikN pointed out that AirCar’s precursor, AeroMobil, which was unveiled by Albert II of Monaco, went bankrupt and that its designer, Stefan Klein, left AeroMobil seven years before its bankruptcy in 2016 to join the new project AirCar.

“AeroMobil spent altogether €25mn on its development, including a state subsidy worth €6mn,” DennikN wrote, adding that “AirCar has to date cost just one-twelfth of this amount”.

Klein and Anton Zajac, who is a co-owner of the most valued Slovak company Eset and shareholder in DennikN, remain the shareholders of AirCar.

“A contract with a Chinese partner is exceptionally good for us,” Klein was quoted as saying.   

DennikN wrote the new partner is Chinese entrepreneur Zhu ShouChen, who collaborates with the chemistry conglomerate BASF and is already active in the Slovak industry after he bought a licence for the production of small Slovak aircraft by Senec-based company Shark.Aero founded by Vladimir Pekar.

Another shareholder linked to Chinese aircraft production in Slovakia is Eduard Sebo, who rose through the notorious Harvard funds during the 1990s privatisation era in Slovakia. Sebo is active in the Slovak wine, milk and health industries and has developed a wine business in China, too.

DennikN wrote that according to Klein, the AirCar production will be based in Nitra in western Slovakia, and part will also take place in the US. The Chinese investor wants to begin producing several tens pieces and gradually move to hundreds.

AirCar already has a plane certificate and is now working on obtaining a car certificate. The price of the four-seat AirCar should be €0.5mn.

Klein flew the AirCar from Nitra to Bratislava and was featured in the car show Grand Tour, previously Top Gear, and in a popular video by YouTuber Mr Beast.