MIAMI – With the advancement of its electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), Lilium GmbH segments itself as a global pioneer in Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and electric aviation. Now, the company has entered into a substantive strategic combination arrangement with Qell Acquisition Corporation.
Qell is a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”) looking to invest in a high-growth business in the next-generation mobility, transportation, or sustainable industrial technology sectors.
With Lilium’s intention to list on Nasdaq through the merger transaction with Qell, the business will now be known as Lilium. As such, equity investments will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LILM.
Lilium’s Wining Number
According to a media release by the firm, Lilium has “the potential to disrupt regional travel,” saving people hours rather than minutes. The unveiling ceremony held on March 30 introduced Lilium’s 7-seater eVITOL aircraft. The new type is aimed at transforming the regional shuttle service with “sustainable, high-speed commuting.”
Lilium boasts that the aircraft has a market-leading capability and will mass-produce this version first. It has a quiet vertical take-off performance which enables it to access even more landing sites. Also, the 7-seater is said to create “a higher network capacity without the need for costly ground infrastructure.”
In addition, the company states that the 7-seater, in combination with shuttle service business models, is poised to bring the best unit economics for both customer and company prospects.
Technically, the jet can cruise at 10,000 feet and up to 175 mph over a range of 155 Km plus reserve. These results are the culmination of five years of R&D and the company prototyping four generations of technology demonstrator vehicles, including a full-scale 5-seater.
Certification and Patents
For a high-capacity aircraft, Lilium applied for a concurrent type certification for both FAA and EASA in 2018. In 2020, EASA awarded CRI-A01 certification to the 7-seater.
Lilium has developed, tested, and optimized the underlying technologies for eVTOL jets and has patented its Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (“DEVT”) technology, as well as main control systems, aircraft, and battery architecture.
Lilium says its DEVT technology allows it to develop larger aircraft while reducing noise pollution and ground footprint.
Comments form Lilium CEO
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.
Wiegand added, “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 a lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions.”
In regards to Qell, the CEO said, “Today’s announcement brings us closer to launching our passenger service. In Qell, we have found a partner who shares our ambition for sustainable mobility and brings tremendous experience in running mobility and hardware businesses.”
Comments from Qell CEO
Barry Engle, Founder and CEO, Qell, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Lilium to together build the leader in regional electric air mobility. 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.”
Engle continued, “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.”
The Qell CEO ended by saying, “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 [are] enormous. I, and the whole team at Qell, are excited [about] the impact Lilium can have and the part we can play.”
Road Map to Serial Production
The transaction’s revenues are key steps to finance the start of commercialization of the 7-seater as scheduled for 2024. This involves finishing the serial production plants in Germany, launching the start of mass-production, and completing the type certification process.
Therefore, Lilium has introduced a stringent aerospace program that covers all licensing, design, testing, and manufacturing stages. Also, the firm defined a maturity window at each point of the aircraft’s development cycle.
Lilium employs over 400 engineers with over 4,000 years of collective aerospace expertise. The experienced leadership team at Lilium was previously responsible for designing and producing some of the most successful and challenging aircraft in aviation history, including the Airbus A320, A350, and A380, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Gulfstream G650, and the Harrier VTOL.
Manufacturing and Investments
Compare to modern jets, Lilium’s aircraft have 30 times fewer components. Also, the Firm applied methods to design for ease of manufacturing and scalability. Moreover, Lilium applied automotive manufacturing techniques and is aiming for fully integrated high-quality production of its motors, actuators, and batteries.
Lilium is working with world-class manufacturers whose technology and facilities have been accredited in aerospace for decades. For example, Toray Industries provides carbon composites for the aircraft’s primary structures; Aciturri manufactures the fuselage and wing systems, and Lufthansa Aviation Training trains Lilium’s pilots.
The company has received nearly US$200m in investments from infrastructure investors such as Ferrovial and Tavistock Construction Company to date. In Florida, up to 14 vertiports joined the program. Lilium is also in early talks with main infrastructure partners about developing a network of ten vertiports throughout Europe.
Featured image: Lilium’s 7-seater eVTOL. Photo: Lilium