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Electric VTOL company Lilium completes $240M funding round

Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for regional air mobility (earlier post), completed an internal funding round worth more than $240 million. The round was led by Tencent, with participation from other existing investors including Atomico, Freigeist and LGT.

The all-electric Lilium Jet is a tilt jet aircraft with 36 engines mounted on its flaps. Low vibrations ensure a smooth and quiet ride for passengers, and the small size of the engines means they’re suited to efficient cruise flight. With zero operational emissions and record-breaking power-to-weight and thrust-to-noise ratios, they are the first electric jet engines in commercial certification.

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The new funds bring the total sum raised to date to more than $340 million. They will be used to support further development of the Lilium Jet as well as underpinning preparations for serial production in Lilium’s newly-completed manufacturing facilities.

As well as designing and manufacturing the Lilium Jet, the company plans to operate a regional air mobility service as early as 2025 in several regions around the world. It recently completed the first stage of flight testing, with the five-seater Lilium Jet demonstrator flying at speeds exceeding 100 km/h.

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This additional funding underscores the deep confidence our investors have in both our physical product and our business case. We’re very pleased to be able to complete an internal round with them, having benefited greatly from their support and guidance over the past few years. The new funds will enable us to take big strides towards our shared goal of delivering regional air mobility as early as 2025.

—Christopher Delbrück, Chief Financial Officer, Lilium

Comments

mahonj

"Low vibrations ensure a smooth and quiet ride for passengers"
(What about the people on the ground ?), and
"the small size of the engines means they’re suited to efficient cruise flight".
Why ?
They have to be powerful enough to lift the aircraft, which would suggest that they are overpowered for horizontal flight.
Also, what is an electric jet engine ?
An electric fan, I think.
In general, I'm not so sure.
(But I'd love to be wrong).

gryf

The Lilium Jet has 2000 hp and is not really a "jet"(it has 36 ducted electric fans -24 in the wing, 12 in the canard @55 hp or 42 kW each). Also, during cruise it only needs 200 hp. According to CEO Daniel Wiegand, “Today’s batteries are between 260 [and] 280 Watt-hours per kilogram. That’s what you can buy off the shelf at the moment, and these batteries are in the prototype at the moment,” Wiegand said. “With these batteries, the maximum we think we can achieve is something around 300 km range… but that doesn’t mean you can fly it in service,” reference: "Lilium Goes Its Own Way", eVTOL News (Jan/Feb 2020 Vertiflite Magazine.
The Lilium Jet looks a lot like the Aurora Flight Sciences XV-24A Lightning Strike, which had 24 electric motors and never made it past prototype stage. The Lilium is also a lot better looking than the Lightning Strike, maybe because it was designed by Frank Stephenson (he is a famous auto designer of Ferraris and McLarens).
We will have to see how this interesting design proceeds particularly when it gets higher energy density batteries.

mahonj

@Gryf, interesting magazine and society (Vertiflight).
+ it isn't a jet at all, it is a battery powered electric fan aircraft.
They say that they have redundancy with 36 motors, so we can agree that if a motor fails they'll be fine.
However, if one of the 4 "flaps" as they call them, gets stick, they are in trouble.
Still, interesting.
The notion of being to travel from Liverpool to London in 1 hour is intriguing.
(Even if it assumes instant takeoff and landing without any delays).
And the batteries will get better.

SJC_1

I have seen forward hover but no wing lift flight.

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