World's first all-electric vertical flying taxi completes maiden test; take a look

Cornelia Mascio
Мая 18, 2019

Lilium said the prototype had its first test flight earlier this month, in which it took off, hovered, then landed again.

A flying taxi that you can order through an app?

"Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations", the company said.

Lilium's new prototype has an oval cabin and 36 electric jet engines fitted on the wings and tail (the tail is actually a smaller wing, but let's call it a tail).

The startup wants its jet to have some rather lofty capabilities once it's ready for prime time, including a top speed of over 180 miles per hour and a range of almost 200 miles. In crowded metropolitan areas, that could facilitate transportation four times faster than cars. At the same time, it can operate for a full hour with a total range of 186 miles, a lot more than EHang's drone-like craft, for instance.

In Texas, the chief executive of LIFT Aircraft says his start-up's electric-powered vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, the Hexa, plans to begin offering 15-minute flights across a lake outside Austin this year for $249 a pop.

Another exciting thing about the taxi is that it will run through a network of landing pads, allowing commuters to book riders from a pad nearest to them through an app.

"While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the jet performed exactly as expected and responded well", Leandro Bigarella, Lilium's head of test flights, said in a statement.

"This is the next step of mobility as we perceive it", Lilium co-founder Matthias Meiner said in the video.

Lillium was founded in 2015 by Wiegand and three friends from the Technical University of Munich.

Air taxi hopefuls will also have to hack through a forest of regulations, safety concerns and public scepticism to build a sustainable business.

In March the US-based Aerospace Industries Association predicted flying vehicles will be "a part of everyday commutes" by 2050.

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