Dr. Carl Dietrich is leaving Terrafugia for parts unknown. It was a small post on Linkedin from Dietrich saying that after thirteen years he was leaving Terrafugia. Dietrich’s Terrafugia was the first flying car that I reported on that was FAA certified.
From Terrafugia inception to Geely Volvo Cars acquisition
Dietrich is the Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association subcommittee on Simplified Vehicle Operations. He earned his Bachelor’s, Masters and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. Dietrich was the passion behind the flying car, and Carl led Terrafugia from inception in 2006 through acquisition by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2017.
John Batchelor and I talked to Dietrich at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, six years after inception. He was already getting requests from the Middle East, so it is of no surprise that his company was purchased by a company that has global foresight.
In 2014 he showed us the street legal Terrafugia Transition. There was no DOE money, only private investors. In the era of everyone getting money from the Federal government, Dietrich flew solo. In 2015 Dietrich showed the future vision of the TF-X, the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).
Geely Holdings has a track record of investment in the USA via its subsidiary company Volvo Cars, which invested over 1 billion USD from 2015 to 2017 towards a new full car producing facility in South Carolina.
If Terrafugia is Latin for escaping the earth, Geelyfugia means escaping Geely. Is Dietrich escaping to create another out-of-this-world project? We don’t know yet. Dietrich says he is exploring a few possibilities but has not made any decisions yet. Carl’s accolades include four design competitions at MIT, the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Invention, Boston Business Journal and AWST 40 under 40 awards. He has been a private pilot and aircraft designer since high school.
He lives with his wife and co-founder, Anna Dietrich, their two children and a dog in California. We can’t wait to see where he goes next.