Article Image
IPFS News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

Interview: The next steps for Lilium's eVTOL air taxi service

•, By Loz Blain

Leaders in the field would include Germany's Lilium and Volocopter, secretive Californian company Joby Aviation, Google co-founder Larry Page's Kitty Hawk startup, and Vahana, which is funded by Airbus. A potential disruptor has popped up recently in the form of US-East-Coast-based Alakai Skai, which is making a multicopter air taxi that uses liquid hydrogen fuel instead of lithium batteries, potentially offering a huge range and endurance advantage.

Each has its own take on aircraft and service design, but all are working toward the ultimate goal of putting electric aviation into the commuting mix – and all are promising Uber-equivalent per-mile prices that'll make them affordable for a much wider range of people than helicopters have ever been.

Lilium, riding on a US$100-million-plus wave of investment, notably from China's Tencent conglomerate, has been a hive of activity in the last few years, leaping from 70 employees in 2017 to more than 350 today. It has opened one manufacturing plant for its electric VTOL jets, and is building another, and it's hiring like mad with 150 jobs on the board right now and up to 500 more to come when the new manufacturing facility comes on line.