German eVTOL firm Lilium says it reaches 250 km/h in testing for its unmanned flying air taxis
German eVTOL startup Lilium Air Mobility announced Thursday it had reached a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour with a technology demonstrator for its unmanned flying air taxis.
The 8-year-old company reached the threshold during the testing of the Phoenix 2 vehicle at a flight test center in southern Spain. The company said it plans a cruise speed of 250 km or 155 miles per hour. Lilium said the key milestone paves the way for the company to certify its electrically powered flying shuttles scheduled for 2025. In a teaser video on Twitter, Lilium said:
“136kt (250km/h, 155mph)! 💥 Even faster than the famous Harris Hawk. 😉 Full video coming soon but catch a glimpse of what’s to come here. #Lilium #eVTOL,” Lilium tweeted
As we reported late last year, Lilium announced plans to mass-produce 400 unmanned flying air taxis a year, while looking to tap into public research support.
“I am pushing hard (for) a production system for 400 aircraft. And if by good luck one day, we need 800 we will just duplicate it, not here (in Germany)…but where the big markets are,” industry veteran and former Airbus executive Klaus Roewe told media outlets. “Let’s size it and let’s see how we have to design a production system including the whole supply chain for 400 aircraft,” Roewe added.
Lilium is one of the several tech startups competing in an already crowded market for electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles. The startup is hoping to replace road trips or short hops by aircraft or helicopters and makes it easy for anyone to order its flying taxi as simple as ordering a pizza.
In June, Lilium announced it achieved the full transition from hover to wing-borne flight on both the wings and canards on its 5th Generation Technology Demonstrator Phoenix 2 eVTOL aircraft. The company said it was “a landmark moment for Lilium and for electric aviation as a whole.”
According to the company, its service is fully app-based and anyone in the coverage area would be able to order the service directly from the Lilium app on a mobile device. The company expects the service to be “fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025.”
First revealed in May 2019, the Lilium Jet is a fully-electric unmanned aircraft that can take off and land vertically. The startup hopes to tap into the trillion-dollar market opportunity that will not only change the way people choose to live and travel but will also connect communities at a fraction of the cost of conventional high-speed infrastructure such as road and rail. The five-seat Lilium Jet targets a range of 186.4 miles or 300 km (160 nautical miles), its 36 electric ducted fans are powered by a 1 MW (1,300 hp) lithium-ion battery, less than 200 hp (150 kW) are required to cruise.
Co-founded in 2015 by four visionary founders, Daniel Wiegand (CEO), Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner, and Patrick Nathen, the company has attracted more than $100m in funding from world-class investors such as Atomico, Tencent, LGT, Freigeist, and Obvious Ventures. The company employs around 350 people in Munich and expects to create around 500 jobs by 2025.