Lilium is preparing for the launch of its electric aircraft in 2025.

The German manufacturer updated the industry on its plans during FIA Connect. The company has recently built a 30,000 sq m facility at its Munich headquarters to manufacture the aircraft.

COO Dr Remo Gerber said the company’s focus was on certification and manufacture of the aircraft to be ready for market in 2025. He said that urban air mobility offered passengers the opportunity to save time through efficient connection of cities and population centres.

Saving time for customers

Gerber explained the three elements that the company had focused on when designing the Lilium jet. “The biggest goal that we set ourselves, is to save time for our customers. And for that, you do need a certain minimum distance for a first mile and the last mile transfer to really make sense and to create that time gain.”

“There were three elements: the range of the aircraft so so we can connect cities as far away as possible, and really create the time gain. The side effect of that is range, it’s much faster and shorter distances to recharge the batteries.”

“Secondly is about the speed. So we can actually do that very effectively and actually really create the time gain from an inner city to another inner city. And last but not least is around noise, creating an aircraft that is very, very quiet, as quiet as possible, about six to seven times quieter than a helicopter, so we can fit into existing city noise environments.”

He added that greater efficiencies in travel could be achieved through connection to other city transport services such as motorways and train lines.

Gerber explained that being a startup operating in an emerging sector was a demanding task. He said: “You see some new challenges, you don’t have actually the reliance of 20 years of having done similar things so everyday we are having to move one step closer to our vision of actually being able to build the aircraft.”

From a paper airplane to 500-strong team

“It started about five years ago with a paper airplane with no processes, and four wonderful people in a room that decided to go and fund this company. And of course over the last five years we’ve been extremely fortunate with having found incredibly strong investors that keep backing us. And more importantly, having gained the trust of 500 amazing individuals that make up the company, because without the team, it doesn’t work.”

Watch the full FINN sessions video for a closer look at Lilium’s new manufacturing facility, the architecture of the plane and wing configuration, engines and how the jet could deliver greater connectivity to cities and population centres across the UK at a fraction of the cost of the HS2 high speed rail project.

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