Lilium, a Munich-based startup, is developing an on-demand air taxi service, has revealed its new five-seater air taxi prototype for the first time. The new Lilium Jet’s unveiling came as the all-electric aircraft completed its maiden flight in Germany earlier this month. Co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand (CEO), Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner, and Patrick Nathen, the company has attracted more than $100m in venture capital from world-class investors.
With a top speed of 300 km/h and a range of 300km, Lilium Jet can complete much longer journeys than its competitors’ thanks, in part, to the fixed-wing design of the aircraft. But here’s the intervention, though: drone-based aircraft consume most of their energy to remain in the air. Lilium Jet relies only on the lift generated by the fixed-wing and requires less than ten percent of its maximum 2000 horsepower during flight at cruising speed.
According to Lilium, “the Lilium Jet features two fixed wings, one main wing at the rear of the aircraft, which measures about 11m across, and a ‘canard’ wing at the front of the aircraft, so-called because it resembled a duck. The canard wings each have two flaps, and the main wings have four. We mount three of our pioneering all-electric jet engines on each flap, allowing them to pivot and change the direction of the thrust they create. The flaps can each move independently.
The full-scale, full-weight prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically while achieving remarkably efficient horizontal, or cruise, flight. No tail; no rudder; no propellers; no gearbox; and only one moving the part that contributes to the aircraft’s safety and affordability. The aircraft’s efficiency is comparable to the energy usage of an electric car over the same distance.
“We are taking another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality, Daniel Wiegand, co-founder, and CEO of Lilium Jet, says. “In less than two years, we have been able to design, build, and successfully fly an aircraft that will serve as our template for mass production. Whether it’s friends or families flying together or business travelers ride-sharing into the city, having five seats delivers an economy of scale, you can’t achieve with two.” The Lilium Jet itself is beautiful, and we were thrilled to see it take to the skies for the first time. With the perfect balance of range and speed, our aircraft has the potential to positively impact the way people choose to live and travel all over the world.”
The Lilium Jet first took to the air in May of 2019. Having completed extensive ground testing at Lilium’s HQ in Munich, Germany, the prototype aircraft controlled remotely from the ground, has since begun a rigorous flight test campaign and lay the foundations for certification of the aircraft. By the way, Lilium will fly 300km (186.4) in one charge.