The German flight taxi startup Lilium has ambitious plans: Commercial operation is scheduled to start as early as 2025. The company also does not want to simply sell its aircraft, but also wants to become a mobility provider itself. Experts, in turn, argue whether the startup's plans are reasonably realistic. The magazine Aerokurier was very critical of this question , while the Technology Review came to a somewhat more positive conclusion . However, Lilium now has to cope with a severe setback. Because one of only two of the company's prototypes was destroyed in a fire. A company spokesman confirmed this to the Süddeutsche Zeitung . The cause of the fire is still unclear. However, it seems certain that the fire broke out inside the flight taxi during scheduled maintenance.
Competitors could benefit from the problems
The fire was finally extinguished by the fire department of the airport where the company's factory is located. No one was harmed. Obviously, Lilium does not seem to be able to rule out the possibility that the fire was caused by a design error. Until the cause is clearly clarified, the remaining prototype will initially no longer go up in the air. How this will affect the company's future schedule has not yet been communicated. But one thing is clear: competition in the market for air taxis is high. The company Volocopter already has a direct competitor in Germany. Well-known companies such as Airbus , Boeing and Uber are also working on corresponding solutions. Lilium should not be able to afford too great delays.
36 electric motors and a range of 300 kilometers
The now destroyed prototype had successfully completed its maiden flight in May 2019. Subsequently, unmanned test flights took place regularly, which also went without major problems. The flight taxi was designed by Lilium as a so-called duck plane. This means that the large wings are at the back and the small wings at the front. 36 electric motors were also installed for the drive and drive, which together have a maximum output of around 1,500 kW. A battery charge should also be enough to reach a destination 300 kilometers away. The start-up's promises include the assurance that a flight by air taxi will not cost more money than a trip by conventional taxi. Apart from that, no exact prices have yet been communicated.