German electric air taxi startup Lilium, Thursday, unveiled its jet-powered, five-seater prototype, which conducted its first flight earlier this month.
The Lilium Jet is part of an app-based flying taxi service that the company expects will be “fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025.”
The full-scale, full-weight prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically. The aircraft design has no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox and only one moving part in the engine.
“In less than two years we have been able to design, build and successfully fly an aircraft that will serve as our template for mass production,” Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said in a statement.
“Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travelers.”
The battery-powered jet is capable of traveling 300 kilometers (186 miles) in 60 minutes on a single charge, and will connect cities through a network of landing pads.
Commuters will be able to book rides from their nearest landing pad through the Lilium smartphone app.
“At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey with ease,” the company said in a press release.
“Choosing from a network of pads across cities and regions, passengers will enjoy journeys that are comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster.”
The Lilium Jet took flight for the first time on May 4, after completing extensive ground testing at Lilium’s HQ in Munich, Germany, the company said.
The prototype aircraft, which is controlled remotely from the ground, has also begun a rigorous flight test campaign, the first step toward certification of the aircraft to safety standards comparable to those of large commercial aircraft.
In 2017, Lilium completed testing of a two-seater prototype, which first demonstrated Lilium’s “signature transition flight maneuver,” where the aircraft shifts from vertical to horizontal flight, and laid the groundwork for the five-seater prototype.
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