Video: German flying car startup unveils five-seat prototypePeter Brown | May 18, 2019
Lilium, the Munich, Germany-based flying car startup, has revealed a five-seat air taxi prototype after completing its first flight earlier this month.
The prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that provide vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and the ability to achieve efficient horizontal or cruise flight. The air taxi does not have a tail, rudder, propellers or gearbox. This is done by design in order to make the flying car more affordable and safer with less chance of things breaking down, Lilium said.
The flying car has a top speed of 300 km/h with a range of 300 km. Because the aircraft can rely on the lift generated by the fixed wing design, it will require less than 10% of its maximum 2,000 horsepower during cruise flight. This is equivalent to the energy expended by an electric car over the same distance. This means that it could potentially connect suburbs to city centers and airports to main train stations, delivering high-speed connections across entire regions, Lilium said.
“While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the Lilium Jet performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs,” said Leandro Bigarella, head of flight test at Lilium. “Our flight test program will now continue with increasingly complex maneuvers as we look towards our next big goal of achieving transition flight, which is when the aircraft moves seamlessly from vertical to horizontal flight.”
Lilium said it plans to manufacture and operate the Lilium Jet as part of an on-demand air taxi service that users will be able to access through the Lilium app to find a landing pad from a network of pads across cities and regions. The company hopes to have fully-operational services in various cities around the world by 2025 with trial services ramping up in several locations over the next five years.
The five-seat Lilium Jet will begin a series of flight tests to demonstrate its range of capabilities and get flight data on how the air taxi performs in order to beef up safety and performance.