According to Auto News Europe, the automaker has suspended work on the project and is reviewing their partnership with Airbus.
While the Audi had high-hopes for the Pop.Up Next, the difficulties of making a flying car apparently got in the way. In a statement, the company said “We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles.” The automaker added the Pop.Up Next tried to solve this problem with a highly complex solution.
As we reported last year, the Pop.Up Next consisted of an ultra-lightweight two-seater cabin that could be attached to either a car or flight module. The car module was a skateboard-like platform that featured a 15 kWh battery and two electric motors that produced a combined output of 80 hp (60 kW / 82 PS). This enabled the concept to travel up to 80 miles (130 km) on a single charge.
Of course, it’s most distinctive feature was the flight module. It consisted of four pods housing eight helicopter blades. Each blade was powered by a 26 hp (20 kW / 27 PS) electric motor which was feed by a 70 kWh battery pack. This gave the module a combined output of 214 hp (160 kW / 217 PS) and allowed it to fly at speeds up to 74 mph (120 km/h). On the downside, the flight module could only travel 31 miles (50 km) before needing to stop for a 15 minute recharge.
While it appears the project is effectively dead, the Volkswagen Group hasn’t given up on flying cars altogether. Just last week, Porsche and Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding to develop “premium personal urban air mobility vehicles.” As part of the agreement, the companies are working on an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle which looks like something out of a Batman movie.