Private jet and flying taxi: Lilium Jet would cost € 1.16 per km!
Kind of a next-generation helicopter flight, as a taxi or for private flights. Lilium sees itself as an alternative for motorway or train connections over distances of up to 150 miles, i.e. a good 240 kilometers.
The first income from commercial operations is expected to flow in 2024, including the production of 90 models. In the longer term, 1,000 models could be produced worldwide, not just by Lilium itself, but also by third-party companies, with an estimated price of four million dollars per model.
China is in focus
The utilization of the models can be rated as ambitious: they are supposed to manage an average of 25 flights per day with an average distance of 100 kilometers and fly ten hours. Of the six passenger seats, an average of 4.5 should be occupied. In addition, there is the pilot in the seven-seater model.
According to Lilium’s calculations, each e-jet could generate an annual turnover of five million dollars. Ten percent of the year should be deducted for maintenance or other interruptions.
It was recently announced that the US aircraft supplier Honeywell is not only supplying the flight controls and avionics for the models, but is also involved itself. The US data analysis company Palantir, which has only been listed on the stock exchange for just under a year, will also be a new shareholder in the future. “Palantir will help Lilium to build these aircraft in a completely new way,” announced a Palantir manager to analysts. Aviation is not a completely new industry for Palantir. In the Skywise project, the US company is also working with Airbus on data analysis and predictive maintenance. Lilium also proudly announced that ex-Airbus boss Tom Enders (62) will be chairman of the start-up’s board of directors. Enders had initiated the development of the E-demonstrators Vahana and CityAirbus, a kind of pre-prototype, at Airbus.
With Lilium, Enders is practically promoting a competitor when Airbus enters the air taxi business itself. It is true that the Airbus plans have become a little quiet, but appearances are probably deceptive. “We are continuing to follow the air taxi plans and there will be further flights by the CityAirbus demonstrator this year,” said an Airbus spokesman when asked.
New battery technology
So it’s not just startups who see a market in air taxis for passengers or cargo. In addition to Airbus and Boeing, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is also active and recently received a major order. In China, models from the provider “EHang” are already flying autonomously, ie without a pilot.
Lilium nevertheless believes that its special technology has given it a competitive edge. The Lilium model has 36 jacketed electric turbines for thrust. Overall, they are quieter than the open rotors of the competition, and the Lilium model can be expanded into a larger version with 16 people on board. After a fire at a demonstrator a good year ago, the battery concept was changed.
No test flight has taken place since then. Now 72 battery modules per model are installed along the side of the fuselage, well protected by the cabin, they say. Everything is controlled electrically, there are no hydraulics with oil in the model.