Visionary Transportation Sketches Plans to Develop Electric SUVs, Rockets

Visionary Transportation has big plans for the next few years, including the development of an electric SUV prototype, Mobility Buzz as learned.

And that’s not all the startup has planned. Shortly after the SUV prototype is developed, Visionary Transportation will begin research and development on a 15-foot electric rocket for cargo, and it even has grander plans to establish an airline and launch pad specifically for aerospace startups.

The Chicago-based startup has raised $14,000 in seed funding, and the founders are working to secure more investors and advisors in order to fully incorporate and invest in research and development, Karl Watson, co-founder of Visionary Transportation, told Mobility Buzz.

“What we are doing right now is putting together a presentation and making sure our organization is spot-on perfect, [by] going around and entering as many entrepreneurial conversations and events as possible,” Watson said.

Visionary Transportation, which was founded in October 2016, has garnered interest from Argonne National Laboratory, a science and engineering research national laboratory within the United States Department of Energy, and a few people there are playing a role as scientific advisor, Watson said. Interest from community members — with former ties to OEMs or connections to NASA — have also expressed interest in mentoring the young company, and some have contributed to the seed funding, he added.

Currently, Visionary Transportation is focusing on Project Elusive — its electric SUV with solar-power capabilities, Kadean Lewis, the startup’s other co-founder, told Mobility Buzz. The company expects to reveal a prototype by early 2018.

The SUVs will have advanced AI mechanics and a 400 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery. For reference, 400 kWh is enough to power one of Tesla’s cars for 1,000 miles. In fact, the desire for solar-powered capabilities was a response to the lack of superchargers offered by companies like Tesla, that are available in rural areas outside of Chicago, for instance, Watson said.

The solar-powered panels will allow the car to operate almost in perpetual motion, said de Dimple. The vehicle will likely cost Visionary Transportation $2 million for a fully-working prototype, and $1 million for a basic one, Lewis said.

Meanwhile, Project VX — Visionary’s electric rocket project — is a long-term goal for the company. Project VX is currently in design stages so that it can be rolled out soon after Project Elusive finishes, Watson said.

Visionary Transportation is trying to create an electric rocket with a more efficient propulsion method, but is also looking at heavy-ion fusion, Watson said. The company estimated a need for $1.2 million in funding for the 15-foot prototype, including fuel.

Long-term projects also include an airline, however, there are no preliminary plans at the moment, Lewis said. But the co-founders are currently scouting areas outside of Chicago where they could purchase land for their offices, as well as to create a launchpad to allow aerospace startups to launch the rockets, drones, and planes without worrying about the cost of construction to build a launchpad, mission control building, assembly

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