Lilium GmbH is a Germany-based start-up co-founded in 2015 by four aerospace engineers and product designers — Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner — all from the Technical University of Munich (Wessling is a municipality located near Munich, Germany).
Initially, the company received funding from the European Space Agency and the European Union’s Climate-KIC program, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change. By Sept. 2017, Lilium raised more than $100 million for the company and in Oct. 2019 it as been said they are seeking to raise between $400 to $500 million more in financing.
The company was valued as a "unicorn" in 2020. “In the last three months, we’ve announced $275 million in total [new investment], which brings us up to a combined total of $375 million and a valuation of more than $1 billion,” then-spokesperson Oliver Walker-Jones told Vertiflite in July 2020.
Wiegand originally conceived the basic electric Vertical and Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) jet concept in 2013. There were four sub-scale prototypes named the Gleiter, Hexa, Dragon and Falcon. Then a full-scale two seat "Eagle" prototype was created and completed a series of unmanned test flights in April 2017. Following the successful test flights of the Eagle prototype, Lilium moved forward with a five seat full-scale production model.
About Simplicity and its Importance in the Lilium Jet Aircraft Design
Simplicity is one of the key design elements for Lilium. There are many things you can leave out of an aircraft to keep complexity to a minimum which translates into lower manufacturing costs, lower maintenance costs, greater safety (less things can fail), greater affordability, less weight and increases efficiency. The company stated that every component that is not there, does not have to developed and does not need to be maintained. Listed below are a few items about the importance of simplicity of the Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft.
No folding propellers or wings
No tilting wings
No water cooling
No liquids (petroleum fuel or oil)
No single point of failure. (Example of a single point of failure: If an aircraft has one engine [such as a Cessna 150] and that one engine fails, that is a single point of failure.)
Wings provide greater efficiency for forward flight
Each electric motor has one moving part
36 ducted fans provide ultra-redundancy
The company also has also begun a second and much larger smart manufacturing facility, compared to its original 3,000 square meter facility, for the serial production of the Lilium Jet. Their manufacturing facilities are clean-sheet designs using 3-D technology, allowing all involved to see and make recommendations on the design of the factories. Simulations are being performed to see how the supply chain responds to failures and unforeseen events.
The manufacturing plants will be smart factories and scalable to multiple sizes, be digitally-native from the start and use adaptive work instructions. This approach to their manufacturing plants is being done to achieve higher volumes of production than current aviation industry plants produce. Lilium's aim is to produce hundreds of aircraft each year by the time commercial services begin.
First eVTOL Vertiport in the World
The city of Orlando, Florida (USA), along with the Tavistock Development Company and Lilium, announced on Nov. 11, 2020, that Lake Nona — adjacent to Orlando International Airport — would be the site of what it called "The first eVTOL vertiport in the world."eVTOL News has an article about the vertiport here online.
On Jan. 11, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Tom Enders, former Chief Executive Officer of Airbus, has joined Lilium's Board of Directors. The Bloomberg article reported that Lilium is valued at $1 billion.
Lilium plans to both manufacture the Lilium Jet and operate the Lilium Jet as a point-to-point on-demand regional air taxi service where its passengers would be flying within an urban area, within rural areas, from urban to rural areas or from city to city, and increase your Radius of Life - the area in which we our day-to-day life. Lilium states with their aerial ride-sharing operations, a person can increase their Radius of Life by a factor of 25 with on-demand air transportation.
As of October 2019, the next flying goal for Lilium is approximately one year of high-speed flight testing. Flight testing will continue to be remotely piloted to remove the risk of any pilots dying during an unsuccessful test flight. On June 11, 2019 Lilium stated that it had selected London to be “the base for a world-class software team it plans to develop.” Hundreds of high-end software engineering roles will be created in the city over the next five years as the business seeks to make affordable, electric, on-demand air taxis a reality by 2025.
The company has stated they will create landing pads or Lili pads on the top of buildings and other areas, and that minimal infrastructure is needed for their Lili pads. The cost of their on-demand aerial ride-sharing will be the similar to the price of taking a taxi. In fact, they have done several price studies and the price for flying in certain cases is shown to be less than the cost of road vehicle taxi. The company predicts that their aerial ride-sharing will be 17 times the amount revenue compared to its road vehicle ride-sharing cousin. The company wants their air service to be affordable and accessible to everyone and not for the select few.
The company has stated that the Lilium Jet will not be for sale to the consumer, this was decided early on when the company was formed. Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations. As of October 2019, Lilium employs more than 350 people, are now hiring more than 150 people and are expected to hire up to 500 new people between now and 2025.
Lilium Jet (16-seater)
Lilium also has plans for a sleek ultra-modern luxury 16-seat Lilium Jet. The Lilium Jet (16-seater) holds one pilot and with enough room for 15 people to fit comfortably in the cabin. The cabin can also be reconfigured to hold hold less passengers depending upon the requirements of the customer. The aircraft can also be reconfigured for air cargo service. The new eVTOL passenger jet has been described to be a scaled-up version of the Lilium Phoenix five-seater prototype aircraft.
The company has not released specifications for the Lilium Jet (16-seater) as of February 2023. The company has stated they expect all their aircraft have increased range as battery density becomes greater, such as using more advanced lithium batteries or solid state batteries.
The aircraft has 30 ducted electric vectored thrust (DEVT) fans on the aircraft's canard wings. The front wing has a grand total of 10 DEVT fans. The rear wing has a grand total 20 DEVT fans. The DEVT fans have a low noise profile, not only due to the fact they are electric ducted fans but the company has also has added acoustic liners to help capture and dissipate noise before it reverberates into the atmosphere. This low noise profile will also provide a much quieter ride for the pilot and passengers when compared to conventional airplanes, jets and helicopters. The company has stated the aircraft is six to seven times quieter than a helicopter.
The aircraft has been designed to maximize aerodynamic efficiency with its wings, DEVT fans and fuselage design. The rear wings have ailerons to help further increase the efficiency of the aircraft. The cabin windows are slightly larger than conventional windows providing better views for the passengers. The landing gear is fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear. The safety features include distributed electric propulsion (DEP), redundant systems and more.
On March 30, 2021, Lilium GmbH announced that it had agreed to merge with Qell Acquisition Corp., and revealed the development of its 7-seat Lilium Jet, the culmination of five years of technology development across four generations of technology demonstrators. Combining with Qell (Nasdaq: QELL), a publicly listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is expected to add an additional $830 million to the company’s roughly $380 million raised to date. The transaction values the combined company at approximately $3.3 billion, at the $10.00 per share private investment in public equity (PIPE) price. The proceeds from the SPAC are intended to fund the launch of commercial operations, planned for 2024. This includes the finalization of production facilities in Germany, launch of serial production aircraft and completion of type certification.
Up to 14 vertiports are already planned in Florida (USA). Lilium is also in advanced discussions with key infrastructure partners for 10 vertiports to build a network across Europe. In January 2021, the company revealed they are developing a network of at least 10 vertiports across Florida (USA).
On May 18, 2022, Lilium announced it has filed 37 new patent applications with the European Patent Office. The patents include energy, propulsion, structures and interior, avionics and custom electric. These patents are part of a group of 50 patents that Lilium filed throughout 2021 with more to come in 2023, according to the company. Lilium is also extending patents in other key markets, including the U.S. and China, in order to protect its inventions.
On June 6, 2022, Lilium announced it had made it's first main wing transition flight test with the Phoenix 2 eVTOL technology demonstrator at it's ATLAS Test Flight Center in Spain. The company stated that completing the main wing transition means the airflow going over the flaps attaches and becomes smooth, allowing the lift to be generated by the wing rather than by the motors. The company completed the main wing transition flight at a speed of 70 knots (130 km/h, 80 mph).
Lilium's seven seat electric jet's timeline is to start production in 2023 with 25 copies. Its next goal is to produce 250 aircraft in 2024, followed by 400 aircraft in 2025. In addition, Lilium has plans to manufacturer a 16-seat eVTOL jet for production in 2027 and a 50-seat eVTOL jet for 2030.
Propellers: 30 electric vectored thrust (DEVT) fans
Electric motors: 30 electric motors
Power source: Batteries
Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
Windows: The windows are slightly larger than conventional windows providing better views for the passengers
Wings: Canard wings, the rear wing has ailerons
Landing gear: Tricycle fixed wheeled landing gear
Noise: 6 to 7 times quieter than a helicopter at take off
Certification of aircraft: Fixed-wing
Lilium vertiport name: Lili pad
Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft also has redundant systems and more.
Administered by The Vertical Flight Society This information on this website is provided for public use. However, you may not copy entire sections of this website and post them on your own website — because that's plagiarism!
2700 Prosperity Ave, Suite 275
Fairfax, Virginia, USA - 22031