Lilium receives US$90m funding for five-seat electric jet


The electric, five-seater vertical take-off Lilium Jet has received US$90m in a series B round of funding from a group of technology investors. The investment will be used for the development of the jet toward its goal of flying commercially, as well as for growing the Lilium team of more than 70.

In April, the Lilium Jet achieved a world first when the full-size prototype successfully performed its most complicated maneuver – transitioning between hover mode and horizontal flight.

The funding group consists of 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 the company’s total capital raised to more than US$100m. Freigeist – formerly e42 – was its seed investor.

Daniel Wiegand, Lilium co-founder and CEO, said, “This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality.

“This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities.

“It makes Lilium one of the best funded electric aircraft projects in the world. Our backers recognize that Lilium’s innovative eVTOL technology puts us in the lead in this exciting new industry, with no other company promising the economy, speed, range and low-noise levels of the Lilium Jet.”

The Lilium Jet’s electric jet engines are 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. The jet will be able to travel at up to 300km/h for one hour on a single charge, meaning a 19km journey from Manhattan to JFK Airport [in New York, USA]could take as little as five minutes. The jet’s economy and efficiency means flights are predicted to cost less than the same journey in a normal road taxi.

David Wallerstein, chief exploration officer at Tencent, added, “Transportation technologies play a fundamental role in structuring our everyday lives. Lilium’s electric powered eVTOL aircraft offers new mobility options that can benefit people around the world. From under-developed regions with poor road infrastructure, to the developed world with traffic congestion and sprawl, new possibilities emerge when convenient daily flight becomes an option for all of us. Lilium offers a substantial and environmentally friendly transportation breakthrough for humanity.”

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Kirstie worked full-time on Business Airport International for over two years and is now a freelance journalist. Away from her writing commitments, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or training for her next charity run.

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