The Lilium Jet is the first “electric jet” VTOL aircraft. The company plans to use the jet for urban mobility as an air taxi. In cruise mode power consumption per km is comparable to an electric car. It produces zero emissions in flight.
Lilium was co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner. Wiegand originally conceived of the basic concept in 2013. The first half-scale demonstrator, “Falcon,” was flown in 2015.
The two-seat “Eagle” prototype completed a series of unmanned test flights in April 2017. It had a total of 36 electric fans: 12 on the upper surface of each wing with tilting flaps and two rows of three fans on each side of the canard, which was designed to be retracted in cruise flight.
Prior to Eagle, the team had flown a series of subscale aircraft, and also studied a design where the wings would fold forward, allowing the aircraft to be driven as a car and recharge overnight from a standard 240 V electrical outlet.
Following the successful test flights of Eagle, Lillium moved forward with a five-seat version. The canard will not be retractable. It will be easily piloted (requiring a Sport Pilots License) and Lilium’s Flight Envelope Protection System will prevent a pilot from performing maneuvers that would exceed the aircraft’s flight parameters. First flight of the fully functional jet is planned for 2019. Operations are planned to begin in 2025.
Each engine is individually shielded so the failure of a single unit cannot affect the adjacent engines. In cruise mode, lift is provided only by the fixed wings. It was has a range of more than 300 km and cruising speed of 300 km/h.
In the first three years, the company brought together a team of top managers, designers and engineers with backgrounds from world-renowned companies including Airbus, Gett, Tesla and McLaren. The workforce has grown to 200 employees from over 15 different countries and is still expanding (as of mid-2018).
The company received some initial funding from the Technical University of Munich, the European Space Agency (ESA), European Union and Atomico, founded by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype.
The company announced in Sep. 2017 that it had completed its Series B funding round with raised $90M, with financial backing by investor groups including Tencent; LGT, the international private banking and asset management group; Lilium’s Series A backer, Atomico; and Obvious Ventures, whose co-founder Ev Williams is Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO. The investment brings the company’s total capital raised to more than $100 million. Freigeist (formerly e42) were Lilium’s seed investors.
Lilium Jet “Eagle” Characteristics (updated April 2017)
|Fuselage length||not available|
|Overall height||not available|
|Tip-to-tip distance||not available|
|Empty weight||970 lb||440 kg|
|Max gross takeoff wt||1,410 lb||640 kg|
|Useful load||440 lb||200 kg|
|Cruise speed||160 kt||300 km/h|
|Propulsors||36 ducted fans|
|Motor output||not available|
|First Flight (unmanned)||April 2017|
- Search eVTOL news posts
- Press release: Lilium celebrates successful flight tests of world’s first electric VTOL jet, April 2017
- Lilium Blog: Introducing the future of transport, Lilium, September 19, 2016
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March 2017
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, Jan 2017
- Article: German Ultralight VTOL Innovations, Vertiflite, Sep 2016