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Lilium unveils footage of its revolutionary flying taxi prototype

By Ashley Norris

Zero-emission aircraft aims to connect cities and regions

Lilium, the Munich based start-up which harbours an ambition to be the “Uber of the skies”, has announced that it has completed the first phase of testing its revolutionary taxi-style aircraft.

The company has shared in-flight footage of its prototype, which it claims can fly at speeds of more than 100km per hour, both hovering and flying horizontally. Similar to the Harrier Jump Jet developed in the Sixties, the craft can take off vertically.

The company aims to launch the aircraft in in 2025. The jet will be powered by 36 electric engines that give it 2,000 horsepower and enable it to cruise at up to 300 km/hour. The on-demand plane, which can carry up to five passengers, will apparently also have zero operating emissions.

The company is rumoured to be in the process of raising a large funding round which industry insiders believe to be between $400-500 million.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Lilium’s chief commercial officer Remo Gerber outlined his vision of an air-taxi service that connects cities and regions, rather than speeding up travel across urban areas.

“We want to be live and a real, meaningful part of transportation ecosystems in several cities around the world. So what does that mean? We’re having talks around the world with a number of different cities and governments and then entire regions to look at how we best connect them”.

For the UK he envisages services between London-Manchester, Manchester-Birmingham, Birmingham-London, “or maybe down to Brighton and several other places.”

Other key players in the air taxi arena include Joby Aviation which raised a round of $100 million in 2018, and the Volocopter which has attracted $55 million in private investments.

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