September 27, 2023
The developer of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet has started assembly of its electric propulsion system on a path to manned flights in 2024.
The Lilium eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft is a jet, unlike most electric aerial vehicles (EAV).
The company’s intent is for its seven-seater vehicles to be used as a regional air mobility service, connecting cities and towns in ranges of 25 to 125 miles apart at speeds of up to 185 mph.
The aircraft features forward canards (small wings near the front) along with main wings and a distributed propulsion system. The landing gear is fixed with no hydraulics.
During takeoff, the plane would use its 36 electric ducted fans to hover for up to about 25 seconds and about 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 upon entry into service in 2024.
“The start of propulsion assembly represents a significant step towards industrializing the Lilium jet,” said Yves Yemsi, COO of Lilium. “In the coming weeks, we will be systematically working towards validating our manufacturing capabilities and preparing to deliver the propulsion units for initial aircraft integration and type-certification testing.”
The fuselage for the Lilium jet was developed and is being built by Aciturri in Spain, with delivery to Lilium facilities in Germany later this year.
Aciturri, also a Lilium investor, has designed and manufactured airframe components for Airbus, Boeing and Embraer.
Lilium recently announced it secured $192 million in financing in addition to a coming public offering. It received funding from different investors including board members and Tencent Holdings, one of its initial backers.
The company, founded in 2015, has manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany, with teams in the U.S. and Europe.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently issued Lilium a certificate validation of its Jet, having previously obtained airworthiness authority from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Lilium is among a small number of companies seeking certification of its electric aerial vehicle (EAV) for both the U.S. and Europe.
The company is not alone in the race for new air transportation services, including flying cars, personal air vehicles, both ultralights, which do not require a pilot license, and certified, which require a license.
The new manufacturing facility is the foundation for a planned aerial ride-sharing network. Joby has partnerships with Uber and Delta Air Lines.
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