Air Taxi Company Starts Advanced Testing Facility

The facility is located at the Lilium headquarters in Munich, Germany and designed by Segula Technologies

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 16, 2024

4 Min Read
The wing of a Lilium jet

An advanced test facility has been started by electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet maker Lilium.

The facility, located at the Lilium headquarters in Munich, Germany, is set to house a fully integrated electric aerial vehicle (EAV) and be used for testing of avionics, flight controls, propulsion and electrical power systems. 

The Lilium electric jet is not yet ready for delivery, with the first flight tests with a pilot planned for later this year. Vehicle construction started last year, and the testing facility is expected to be operational this summer.

The 26,000-square-foot test facility, designed by Segula Technologies, would be used to simulate flights and verify performance, according to the company.

“The test facility will be a cornerstone of the Lilium Jet certification program, allowing us to test multiple flight missions as well as failure scenarios in a controlled environment on the ground,” said Stephen Vellacott, chief technology officer of Lilium. “Alongside the flight demonstration, ground-based testing will play a critical role on the path towards certification of the Lilium Jet.”

Earlier this week, Lilium announced that due diligence had started for a loan guarantee of at least $108 million by the German government.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Seeks $108M Loan Guarantee from Germany

KfW bank in Frankfurt was commissioned by the Federal Government of Germany and the Free State of Bavaria to conduct the review.

Lilium also said it is in advanced discussions to create high-volume production facilities in France, with talks with the French government involving potential subsidies and loan guarantees, with future investment reaching up to $430 million.

Lilium already is considering sites in France including in Nouvelle Aquitaine, noted for aerospace and battery production facilities. 

Production facilities by the EAV maker could create up to 850 jobs, according to the company, which said it has an order pipeline for 780 flying vehicles.

Lilium recently received an order for 20 of its flying vehicles from UrbanLink, which plans to operate the EAVs in South Florida for trips to Miami, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, with service starting in 2026.

Lilium recently partnered with Star Charge, an electric vehicle charging infrastructure and microgrid company, to provide 120 chargers for its electric jets.

The EAV maker also is teaming with jet and helicopter operator PhilJets to establish advanced air mobility (AAM) services in the Philippines and other Southeast Asia countries.

Lilium and PhilJets plan to jointly develop routes and determine passenger demand for an on-demand eVTOL service in the region. That deal included the sale of 10 Lilium jets to PhilJets.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Lands 20-Unit Order for US Operations

LuftCar, the Florida developer of a hydrogen-powered eVTOL, also is expanding into the Philippines via a recent partnership with eFrancisco Motor Corporation (eFMC) to develop and deploy the LuftCar flying car system in the Philippines.

The hydrogen-powered air vehicle would connect to and lift road vehicles created by eFMC, a major jeepney manufacturer.

The Lilium eVTOL craft is a jet, unlike most EAVs.

The seven-seater vehicles are planned as a regional air mobility service, connecting cities and towns up to 125 miles apart at speeds of up to 185 mph.

The flying vehicle features forward canards (small wings near the front) along with main wings and a distributed propulsion system with fixed landing gear without hydraulics.

During takeoff, the plane would use its 36 electric ducted fans to hover for up to 25 seconds and 20 seconds during the landing phase, according to the company. Most of the flight time would be in the cruise stage with a relatively short takeoff and landing time.

The company estimates the range of the craft at 150 miles.

Lilium has teamed with the Lufthansa Group to explore opportunities in aviation including ground and flight operations, EAV maintenance and flight training in Europe.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Buying 120 Chargers; Liquid-Cooled Cables

Founded in 2015, Lilium has manufacturing facilities in Munich with teams in the U.S. and Europe with the European market expected to account for more than 9,000 vehicles through 2035.

The fuselage for the Lilium jet was developed by Aciturri in Spain, with delivery to Lilium facilities in Germany. Aciturri, also a Lilium investor, has designed and manufactured airframe components for Airbus, Boeing and Embraer.

Lilium recently secured $192 million in financing in addition to a coming public offering. It received funding from different investors including board members and initial backer Tencent Holdings.

The company is not alone in the race for new air transportation services, including flying cars, personal air vehicles, ultralights, which do not require a pilot license, and certified vehicles, which require a license.

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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