Since I was a little boy, there has been talk of flying cars. And since I was a little boy, Paul Moller has been a short few years away from going into production on such a vehicle. He still is, though now it's called the Skycar Volantor. It's reminiscent of the wag's remark about fusion energy: "fusion is the energy source of the future, and always will be."
But what about the M400 Skycar? It's "specifications" can be found here. What a fine way to get around! 275 m.p.h. cruise at better than 20 m.p.g. It's stated that the production model will employ eight rotary engines rated at 150 h.p. per engine burning any of a variety of fuels, but ethanol is suggested. This is the power required for the vertical take off capability. At this site, there are a variety of videos, including a hover test of the M400, it apparently will get off the ground. There are also some specifications wherein it's indicated that the "nominal continuous power" is 720 horsepower and the fuel is ethanol. This would be running at 60% power and makes sense. It's not stated whether the engines are turbocharged, but they must be since the operational ceiling is stated to be 36,000 feet (!).
So let's take a look at a vehicle utilizing internal combustion engines to get 20 m.p.g. (the specs. say ">20" so this should be conservative) at 275 m.p.h. This means it's burning 13.75 gallons of ethanol per hour. OK, we find here that ethanol has an energy density of 6,100 watt hours/liter, or about 83,100,000 joules/gallon. So the total available energy in 13.75 gallons of ethanol is 1,143,000,000 joules. Burning this in one hour or 3600 seconds at 100% efficiency will produce 317,395 watts or 426 horsepower. This means the Skycar's engines are using fuel with an efficiency of 169%. I rather doubt it.
Let's suppose, then, that the figures come from burning gasoline. Gasoline has a significantly higher energy density, and would mean the claim is only an efficiency of 106%. Still higher than the figures one typically sees for an internal combustion engine. All right, suppose that the 720 horsepower only applies to the "top speed," listed as 360 m.p.h. Now, with gasoline, we're looking at an efficiency of 81%. Well, at least it's no longer in the category of the "over unity" nut cases, but I've never seen a real engine with such a specification and, unless it's operating at a very high temperature and dumping into a very cold reservoir, thermodynamics won't allow it. If a heat engine is operating from 1500 K into a reservoir of 273 K (about 2240 degrees fahrenheit into 32 degrees fahrenheit) the absolute theoretical maximum efficiency is 81.8%. No real engine comes close.
Is 720 horsepower sufficient to produce a speed of 360 m.p.h.? It's likely that it is. The Piper Meridian, for example, utilizes a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A turboshaft engine running at 500 horsepower to cruise at 260 knots, or about 300 m.p.h. It burns on the order of 40 gallons of Jet A fuel each hour to do it though. Speed available goes up approximately with the cube root of power, so 720 horsepower should be able to give an increase of about 12.9% over the Meridian, all else being equal. This would be about 339 m.p.h. Maybe the Skycar is a little aerodynamically cleaner, maybe its ducted fans are slightly more efficient than the Meridian's propeller. I'll call it plausible.
So if the Skycar were to be a real product, what are its claimed advantages? Well, it's driveable at low speed from your garage to an approved takeoff location where it can take off vertically. It's being designed, ultimately, to be fully automated, no pilot intervention necessary, and thus able to be used by those with no flying skills of any kind. You were previously able to buy a place in line for a production Skycar at a cost for delivery of about $400K to $1M (according to some dated web sites) depending on where in line you were. You could put only part of that down to reserve your place. It seems that that's no longer the case though.
Dr. Moller is now stating that, in limited production, the M400 Skycar Volantor will sell for about $500,000 and be available in "about three years." In mass production (i.e., when everyone you know is buying one) they'll sell for $60,000 to $80,000. If you'd rather own the company than the Skycar, it's sold over the counter as MLER.OB on the OTCBB ("Over the Counter Bulletin Board"). You can peruse the financials here. Note the negative book value. No wonder they're not taking deposits. Its market capitalization values the company at $8.27M, with 54% owned by insiders and 5% holders. Pretty thin. You just can't beat the laws of thermodynamics.