"The first flight went exactly as planned." [1
9659004] Compared to the other pre-produced electric aircraft we've seen so far, the Lilium Jet stands out with certainty: it has an egg-shaped cabin that opens up a chassis with two parallel, asymmetric tiltrotor wings sits. The wings are equipped with a total of 36 e-jet engines, which tend to start vertically upwards and then move forward for horizontal flight. There is no tail, rudder, propeller or gearbox. Upon completion, the Lilium Jet will have a range of 300 kilometers and a top speed of 300 km / h, the company said.
This is much further than many competitors expect from their electric aircraft. Remo Gerber, Chief Compliance Officer of Lilium, said this was due to the fixed-wing design of the jet, which consumes less than 10 percent of its maximum 2,000 horsepower during the cruise.
"We are super excited," said Gerber in an interview with
The Verge . "The first flight went exactly as it should be."
The company has previously conducted test flights. As early as 2017, Lilium had announced the first test flight of its all-electric two-seater vertical take-off and landing prototype (VTOL). While the prototype was able to demonstrate the shift from vertical to forward flight, the Lilium full jet did not.
The ratio of power to weight plays a major role in electric flight. It is also one of its biggest inhibitors. The energy density – the amount of energy stored in a given system – is the key metric, and today's batteries do not have enough energy to lift most aircraft off the ground. To weigh: Jet fuel provides 43 times more energy than an equally heavy battery.
Gerber did not specify the weight capacity of the Lilium Jet, but insisted that at some point he would be able to carry five passengers and a pilot plus baggage. Lilium's "payload ratio is industry leading and that will make the difference," he said.
Unlike some of his competitors, Lilium plans to leave a human pilot aboard his aircraft. This will allow for a simpler certification process, said Gerber. Lilium is in the process of obtaining certification for the five-part air taxi from the European Aviation Safety Agency, and will submit a request to the US Aviation Authority.
Gerber had more to say about the company's business model, which includes an app-based on-demand feature that allows customers to book a flight through a smartphone app. Think Midtown Manhattan to JFK International Airport in less than 10 minutes for $ 70. (At present, a company called Blade, posing as a "Uber for helicopters," offers the same voyage for $ 195.)
Lilium is not the only company that offers designs for flying taxis. More than 100 different electric aircraft programs are underway worldwide, including Joby Aviation and Kitty Hawk, whose models are more likely to use electric rotors than nozzles, as well as scheduled offerings from Airbus, Boeing and Bell, which work with Uber.