Sky’s the Limit: Lilium, a Flying Car Company, Raises $90 Million

A German aviation startup developing the world’s first all-electric jet capable of vertical takeoff and landing announced today it has raised $90 million in a new round of funding.

Lilium’s five-passenger all-electric air taxi comes as interest in traffic-defying electric cars continues to grow. To this end, Lilium aims to bring low cost air travel to a mass audience by moving people up to 187 miles in one hour on a single electric charge at a price comparable to ground transport.

READ MORE: Google’s Larry Page Backing Flying Car Startups

Investment in the venture, comprised of funds from multiple backers, will be used for the the jet’s development, in addition to growing the company’s employee ranks beyond its current team of 70 people. With the new funds, Lilium’s hyper-efficient, zero emission, low-noise passenger jet is now in accelerated development.

Founded in 2015 by a group of academics at the Technical University of Munich, Lilium has grown from its founding quartet to a company of more than 70 engineers, tasked with developing and building the world’s first fully electric vertical take-off and landing jet. With this round of funding, Lilium has raised more than $100 million of capital in 24 months.

The electric jet engines are said to be highly efficient and ultra-low noise, allowing it to operate in densely populated urban areas, while also covering longer distances at high speed with zero emissions.

In April, a smaller two-seat Eagle prototype of the Lilium Jet successfully completed its maiden test flight series in the skies above Bavaria. It executed a range of complex maneuvers, including its signature mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.

The aircraft accomplishes this trick with multiple engine flaps which tilt from a vertical to horizontal position depending on the Jet’s flight mode. Flaps are vertical during take-off, allowing the engines to lift the machine. Once in the air, the flaps transition slowly to a horizontal orientation, allowing the craft to accelerate until sufficient lift is provided by just the wings.

Having gotten its proof-of-concept off the ground, the company says this newest investment will be used for the development of the five-seat Lilium Jet that is intended for commercial flight duties.

With the jet requiring no significant infrastructure, Lilium plans to bring high speed transportation services to both small cities and large city centers. Plans call for an Uber-like interface, allowing users the ability to deploy an app and summon a Lilium Jet air taxi to the nearest landing pad.

READ MORE: Uber Planning to Roll Out Flying Car Service

Lilium is one of several companies seeking to break into the flying car market, including efforts being financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, Airbus, and Uber. However, Lilium seeks to stand out – as if building a flying car isn’t unique enough – by focusing its efforts on electric propulsion and vertical take-off and landing abilities.


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