Lilium GmbH (Lilium), a leading electric air mobility company, announced the development of its electric vertical take-off and landing jet after entering into a definitive business agreement with Qell Acquisition Corp (Qell). The culmination of five years of technology development across four generations of technology demonstrators, Qell’s $830m investment brings Lilium’s total worth to $3.2b. What will the company do with it? Fly, of course.
Although it has a projected cruise speed of 175 mph at 10,000 feet and a range of 155+ miles, including reserves, the vehicle is capable of quiet vertical take-off, allowing Lilium access to more landing sites and the opportunity to build higher network density, avoiding the need for expensive ground infrastructure. With this flexibility, the 7-Seater Lilium Jet and regional shuttle service will enable sustainable, high-speed transportation. Its regional shuttle service business model is projected to deliver the best unit economics, with passenger and enterprise opportunities.
Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO, Lilium said, “We’re incredibly excited to reveal the development of our 7-Seater Lilium Jet and announce the next stage of our growth. This is a validation of all the hard work over the last five years from our talented team and our world-class partners and investors.
“Our vision is to create a sustainable and accessible mode of high-speed travel and bring this to every community. Transport infrastructure is broken. It is costly in personal time, space consumption and carbon emissions. We are pursuing our unique electric jet technology because it is the key to higher-capacity aircraft, with lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions”.
Lilium applied for concurrent type certification for a high-capacity aircraft with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2018. The development of the 7-Seater Jet began in “stealth mode” following this milestone. In 2020 the 7-Seater Lilium Jet received CRI-A01 certification basis from EASA giving them a clear understanding of the requirements needed to reach certification.
The company has successfully developed, tested and refined the underlying technology for electric vertical take-off and landing jets – Lilium’s proprietary Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (“DEVT”) technology, along with key control systems, aircraft and battery architecture. DEVT technology enables Lilium to scale to higher-capacity aircraft and keep noise emissions and ground footprint low.
The proceeds from the transaction with Qell are intended to fund the launch of commercial operations, planned for 2024. This includes the finalization of serial production facilities in Germany, launch of serial production aircraft and completion of type certification. The advancement will be helped by Lilium’s 400 engineers who have previously helped deliver aircraft like the Airbus A320, Eurofighter Typhoon, Gulfstream G650 and Harrier VTOL.
The 7-Seater Lilium Jet will be smaller than those above, containing 30x fewer components than a commercial airliner and is designed for ease of manufacturability and scalability. The company applies automotive-style design for manufacturing methods and is designing for fully automated high-quality production of its engines, actuators and batteries. To do so, they are partnering with developers like Toray Industries who are providing carbon composites for the aircraft’s primary structures; Aciturri, manufacturing the fuselage and wing systems; and Lufthansa Aviation Training, training Lilium’s pilots.
To date, Lilium has secured approximately $200 million of commitments from infrastructure partners, including Ferrovial and Tavistock Development Company. Up to 14 vertiports are already planned in Florida. Lilium is also in advanced discussions with key infrastructure partners for 10 vertiports to build a network across Europe.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Lilium to together build the leader in regional electric air mobility”, said Barry Engle, Founder and CEO, Qell. “Qell set out to find an exceptional and ambitious technology company, with significant growth potential — and in Lilium, we have found that. Lilium has unique technology and one of the most accomplished engineering and commercial teams in electric aviation. The 7-Seater Lilium Jet is a game-changer for transportation.
“The experienced Qell leadership team is looking forward to working with Lilium. Our board has a collective set of experiences in growing businesses, strengthening operations, expanding globally, raising capital and creating long-term value. I have spent my career in mobility and been part of the electrification of the automotive industry. The market and societal potential from the electrification of air travel is enormous. I, and the whole team at Qell, are excited for the impact Lilium can have and the part we can play”.
The Boards of Directors of both Lilium and Qell have unanimously approved the proposed business combination, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021, subject to the approval by Qell’s stockholders and the satisfaction or waiver of other customary closing conditions identified in the business combination agreement.
Founded in 2015, Lilium’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are in Munich, Germany, with teams based across Europe and the U.S. Formed in San Francisco in August 2020, Qell Acquisition Corp. is a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created to invest in a high-growth business in the next-generation mobility, transportation or sustainable industrial technology sectors.