Lilium Reveals New Air Taxi
Vehicle development Urban air operations

Lilium Reveals New Air Taxi

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Lilium Jet is all-electric and can go 300 km (186 miles) thanks to 36 electric motors rated at roughly 1.5 MW

Lilium, a Munich-based startup, revealed its all-new Lilium Jet, a five-seater, fully-electric aircraft that can take-off and land vertically (eVTOL), which on May 4, 2019 successfully completed its short maiden flight.

We first heard about Lilium in 2017 when the company completed the maiden flight of a two-seater prototype. The new version, more suitable for commercial use will be a template for mass production.

Lilium intends to introduce piloted on-demand air mobility service (air taxi / ride sharing) available through the smartphone app. The plan is to set a network of landing pads and build a fleet of Lilium Jets that could be affordable like taxis, but four times quicker.

"Lilium plans to manufacture and operate the Lilium Jet as part of a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service. At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey with ease. Choosing from a network of pads across cities and regions, passengers will enjoy journeys that are comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster. Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations. "

The company already attracted more than $100 million in funding (having Atomico, Tencent, LGT, Freigeist and Obvious Ventures among investors) and employs more than 300 people.

The presented full-scale, full-weight prototype is equipped with a total of 36 electric motors, which together are rated at 2,000 hp peak (almost 1.5 MW). According to the press release, the Lilium Jet will be able to go 300 km/h (186 mph) and fly 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge.

"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. The simplicity of the aircraft design, with no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox and only one moving part in the engine not only contributes to the safety and affordability of the aircraft, but it has also allowed the design team to focus their efforts on creating a magical customer experience in the cabin, from panoramic windows to gull-wing doors."

"With a top speed of 300 km/h and a range of 300km, the Lilium Jet is capable of completing much longer journeys than the majority of its competitors. This is, in part, thanks to the fixed wing design of the aircraft. While drone-based aircraft consume much of their energy keep- ing an aircraft in the air, the Lilium Jet can rely on the lift generated by the fixed wing to do this, meaning it will require less than ten percent of its maximum 2000 horsepower during cruise flight. This efficiency, which is comparable to the energy usage of an electric car over the same distance, means the aircraft would not just be capable of connecting suburbs to city centers and airports to main train stations, but would also deliver affordable high-speed connections across entire regions."

"The five-seater prototype will now enter a rigorous flight test campaign that will see it demonstrate its full range of capabilities."

Celebrating the landmark, Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, said:
“Today we are taking another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality. 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. Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travelers. Whether its friends or families flying together or business travelers ride-sharing into the city, having five seats delivers an economy of scale you just 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.”

Commenting on the successful first flight, Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Test, said:
“While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the Lilium Jet performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs. Our flight test program will now continue with increasingly complex maneuvers as we look towards our next big goal of achieving transition flight, which is when the aircraft moves seamlessly from vertical to horizontal flight.”

See the original article and video here

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