German Startup Just Showed Their Flying Taxi
A lot of well-respected automotive and aircraft companies are already working on flying cars, bringing the long-awaited dream to reality. However, the first such product might be launched by a startup. The Munich-based company called Lilium already showed a video of a working air taxi prototype, which they want to launch in 2025.
The Lilium flying car is an eVTOL vehicle, shorter for “electric vertical takeoff and landing.” This means that it doesn’t require a runway to become airborne, but don’t for a second think that you might park it in your backyard – the wings are still very wide. This means that take-off will take place out of congested and urban areas.
Nevertheless, the Lilium flying taxi shows a lot of promise, especially when you look at the numbers. According to the company, with fully charged batteries, the futuristic-looking aircraft can fly over 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a charge and at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). This makes the airborne vehicle an enticing prospect for traveling short distances between cities.
The fact that this air taxi is fully electric gives the whole project green credentials. Lillium used as much as 36 electric jet motors on the aircraft to make the test flight, without people in the cabin. The combined power of the engines is 2000 horsepower, enough for the vehicle to fly with five people on board. The big wings that might seem unwieldy in urban areas are also crucial in making this car fly. Lilium says that the large wings help the aircraft produce lift by only using 10% of the power of the motors.
“The Lilium Jet continues to meet our expectations, delivering excellent in-flight performance and remarkably smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight. That said, we take a relentless approach to improvement, and, like any good testing program, we have had the chance to implement a number of refinements to the aircraft along the way,” said Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Testing at Lilium, in a statement to the media. Lilium plans to develop and produce the air taxi by themselves in new facilities near Munich.