Science

World’s First Electric VTOL Flying Car Successfully Completes First Flight

By | Apr 21, 2017 08:51 PM EDT
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The future?

Lilium Jet prototype flies for the first time. (Photo : Lilium Aviation)

A two-seater prototype of Lilium Jet -- the world's first electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) flying car - a few days ago successfully completed its maiden test flight series in the skies above Bavaria, Germany.

The Eagle prototype executed a range of complex maneuvers, including a signature mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.

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Lilium Aviation, the German firm that's making the Lilium Jet, also took the occasion to announce a new five-seater version of the Lilium Jet. It envisions this version will be used for on-demand flying taxi and ride-sharing services in the future.

Lilium Jet is unique in its use of electric power for both the vertical take-off, and in the jet-powered components of its engine system. It relies totally on 100 percent renewable electric power for propulsion.

Lilium Aviation said Lilium Jet is the only electric aircraft capable of both vertical take-off and jet-powered flight. Lilium Jet has a range of over 300 km and cruising speed of just below 320 km/h.

"We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point," said Lilium co-founder and chief executive Daniel Wiegand.

"The successful test flight program shows that our ground-breaking technical design works exactly as we envisioned. We can now turn our focus to designing a 5-seater production aircraft."

Wiegand said Lilium Jet, whose power consumption per kilometer is comparable to an electric car, might one day offer passenger flights at prices comparable to normal taxis but at speeds up to five times faster.

Lilium Aviation said their goal in developing Lilium Jet was based a transition aircraft concept with better performance in safety, noise, speed, range and payload than existing concepts, while cutting complexity to one third.

So they "invented a completely new aircraft concept for the modern age. Transition aircraft can fly three times faster and ten times further with an equally sized battery, but system complexity is usually much higher."


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