26 Jun 2023
German air mobility company Lilium says it has built an eVTOL that can travel at a speed of up to 250km/h, with the intention to be an operable regional air taxi within the next two years.
As first reported by Reuters, the company is calling the speed achievement “a key milestone” to the certification of its vehicles in 2025.
Lilium posted a video on the achievement to its Twitter, showing off some in-air footage of the aircraft. The test was completed at a test flight centre in Southern Spain.
VTOL, or virtual take-off and landing, is a name that’s applied to fixed-wing aircraft that can take off vertically like helicopters. The ‘e’ placed at the front indicates that it’s propelled by electricity instead of combustion fuel.
This comes shortly after Australian company Vertiia completed the maiden flight of an eVTOL that could potentially, one day, travel at a whopping 300km/h speed. EVTOLs are a booming space at the moment, and soon we may be getting a racing scene dedicated to them.
Where Vertiia and Lilium’s eVTOLs differ is that Vertiia’s utilises propellers, while Lilium’s is more of a jet with fixed engine parts. The company claims that its jet is the first of its kind to not use exposed propellers.
“The proprietary technology at the core of the Lilium Jet is Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (DEVT) which we have refined through successive generations of aircraft demonstrators,” the company says.
“Electric jet engines integrated into the wing flaps provide advantages in payload, aerodynamic efficiency and a lower noise profile, whilst also providing thrust vector control to manoeuvre the Lilium Jet through every phase of flight.”
The jet shown above is the fifth generation model of the aircraft, with Lilium working on the eVTOL since 2015.
What Lilium wants to do is create eVTOLs as a form of high-speed regional mobility, all while operating at low noise with zero operational emissions.
The Lilium team includes 800 employees, with design led by chief technology officer Alastair Mcintosh, the former managing director of Rolls Royce Germany.
“Lilium will enable faster travel than existing high-speed alternatives, opening direct connections to create a new, sustainable network,” the website adds.
The company says a full video on the speed milestone is on the way.