Aerospace AMAviation

Lilium raises $35 million for upcoming VTOL taxi

The german company has been using 3D printing since early 1:5 prototype

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Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for regional air mobility, closed a new funding round of $35 million from Baillie Gifford, known for investing in high-impact technology companies such as Amazon, Tesla, Airbnb, Spotify and SpaceX. This brings the total funding collected to date to more than $375 million.

Three months ago Lilium had received $240m in additional funding from existing investors including Atomico, Freigeist, LGT and Tencent, who led the investment round. Combined, these funds will support the further development of the Lilium Jet as well as underpinning preparations for serial production in Lilium’s newly-completed manufacturing facilities.

Co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand (CEO), Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen, Lilium has designed and prototyped the Lilium Jet, a brand-new type of aircraft that will enable it to deliver regional journeys that are considerably faster than rail or road, yet competitive in price. The demonstrator aircraft first flew in 2019 and is a five-seater, fully-electric aircraft that can take-off and land vertically (eVTOL). Lilium expects to service a sizeable global market demand by connecting communities at a fraction of the cost of conventional high-speed infrastructure, with zero operating emissions.

In 2016, CEO Daniel Wiegand reported the company had completed a 3D printed 1:5 prototyped, called Dragon. This prototype was entirely 3D printed, even down to the fans, which makes it quick to rebuild after tests. Accordingly, the Dragon was a go-to prototype for all initial software tests and fun flights. This 1:5 scale model was also the first prototype to demonstrate seamless transition flights from hover to cruise mode and back using the final design concept of the Lilium Jet.

Lilium
The fully 3D printed Dragon prototype of the Lilium Jet

Now moving into final production, the company has completed a new manufacturing facility, an important step towards preparing the company for serial production of the Lilium Jet. The first manufacturing facility, a 3,000 square meter space located at the company’s headquarters, will soon be complemented by a second, much larger, facility which is already under construction at the same site. Combined, they will support Lilium’s aim of producing hundreds of aircraft a year by the time commercial services begin in 2025. Additive manufacturing is expected to be a key production solution for a number of end-use parts on the mass produced Lilium Jet.

Commenting on the new investment, Christopher Delbrück, Chief Financial Officer, Lilium, said: “Baillie Gifford is one of the world’s most influential tech investors and their commitment to Lilium represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case. We look forward to working closely with Baillie Gifford as we seek to bring emissions-free, regional air mobility to the market as early as 2025. The funds raised during this round give us the security to weather the challenging economic landscape we see around us and we’re grateful to be able to stay fully focused on our mission.”

 

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