German electric aircraft startup sees $90 million boost

German electric aircraft startup sees $90 million boost

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The funding group consists of Chinese internet giant Tencent; LGT, the international private banking and asset management group; Atomico, Lilium’s series A backer founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström; and Obvious Ventures, whose co-founder Ev Williams is Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO. The investment brings Lilium’s total capital raised to more than $100 million.

The Lilium crew has developed a battery driven prototype with 36 software-controlled electric motors. The prototype takes off vertically; the vehicle also has proved that it can handle automatically the transition from the vertical to the horizontal flight which is said to be one a rather difficult flying maneuver. Maiden Flight was in April 2017. Their next intermediate goal is building another prototype that will travel at a speed up to 300 kph (162 knots). The great goal of the Lilium team is to build a battery-driven five-seater air taxi.

The vehicle is not intended for sale. Instead, Lilium plans to establish a sharing model with on-demand services. The plane’s economy and efficiency means flights are predicted to cost less than the same journey in a normal road taxi, Lilium said in a press release.

As recently as August 21, the company announced that it has contracted Dirb Gebser, former VP assembly for the A380 and A320 from aircraft giant Airbus.  

Besides Lilium, there are currently several other start-up companies trying to conquer the markets with a crossbreed of car and aircraft. Probably the fiercest competitor is is Volocopter (Bruchsal near Karlsruhe, Germany) which is funded by carmaker Daimler.

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