Flying Taxi Company Seeks $108M Loan Guarantee from Germany

The Federal Government of Germany and the Free State of Bavaria have commissioned the review

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 15, 2024

4 Min Read

Due diligence has started for a loan guarantee for German electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet maker Lilium.

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

Lilium is looking to borrow at least $108 million once the loan is secured.

“We would like to thank those responsible in Berlin and Munich for their decision and the constructive cooperation over the last few weeks,” said Lilium CEO Klaus Roewe. “We expect due diligence to be swift as transparency is a daily routine for us as a listed company. Electrification is in strong public interest as a contribution to the necessary decarbonization of the industry.”

Earlier this week, Lilium announced it is in advanced discussions to create high-volume production facilities in France.

The talks with the French government involve potential government subsidies and loan guarantees, with Lilium 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 electric aerial vehicle (EAV) maker could create up to 850 new jobs, according to the company, which said it has an order pipeline for 780 flying vehicles.

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

The discussions were announced by the French government at the Choose France Summit in Versailles.

Lilium recently received an order for 20 of its flying vehicles from UrbanLink, which plans to operate the EAVs in South Florida.

UrbanLink intends to use the vehicles for trips to Miami, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, with service planned to start in 2026.

The Lilium electric jet is not yet ready for delivery, with the first flight tests with a pilot planned for later this year.

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.

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.

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

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.

Founded in 2015, Lilium has manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany, 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.

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

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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