Lilium unveils on-demand all-electric jet-engine taxi after successful maiden flight

©Lilium eVTOL Jet and founders

Munich, Germany-based Lilium has unveiled its latest all-electric jet-powered five-seat taxi which has the capability and range to enable it to fly up to 300km in just 60 minutes with zero emissions. The Lilium Jet has been developed as part of a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service. The prototype was shown off for the first time on May 16 after its successful maiden flight at its Munich headquarters at 8.03 local time, May 4, 2019.

Commenting on the successful first flight, Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Test, 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. 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.”

The new, larger prototype now has five seats as opposed to the original two, which will make it more cost effective to operate. There is no need for a pilot as the aircraft is operated remotely from the ground. According to Lithium: “At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey with ease. Choosing from a network of pads across cities and regions, passengers will enjoy journeys that are comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster.”

Unlike the majority of Lilium’s drone-style competitors, the Lilium Jet has a fixed-wing design and the propulsion system comprises 36 individual all-electric jet engines, which aside from being ultra-efficient, are extremely quiet and avoid the sound characteristics associated with standard commercial jet engines. In addition, part of the Lilium Jet’s success where range is concerned is based on the fact that  drone-based aircraft consume much of their energy keeping an aircraft in the air, the Lilium Jet can rely on the lift generated by the fixed wing to do this, meaning it will require less than ten percent of its maximum 2000 horsepower during cruise flight.

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