German electric aircraft manufacturer Lilium is causing a stir in the US with its goal of being the first to market electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft there. Unfortunately, there is a high cost associated with this creative maneuver.
Lilium has partnered with Texas-based EMC Jet, a full-service air brokerage and management company, to ease their entry into the US market. High net worth individuals, such as business leaders and private jet owners, who are looking for a more environmentally friendly substitute for conventional, noisy, and polluting private planes, will find this cooperation appealing.
Lilium’s eVTOL aircraft, named the Pioneer jet, carries a price tag of $10 million, nearly twice the cost of an equivalent gas-powered four-passenger private jet. While this may seem steep, Lilium is targeting a premium market of individuals who already utilize private jet services and are looking for efficient and environmentally friendly last-mile transportation options.
With an operating range of about 110 miles, the Lilium Pioneer aircraft is far less than conventional helicopters, which can travel 350–400 miles, and private jets, which can travel 2,000–10,000 nautical miles. With its thirty tilt-rotors, the aircraft can soar to altitudes of 10,000 feet.
Lilium is marketing its eVTOL as an additional means of transportation for those with particular needs rather than as a direct substitute for conventional private aircraft. This method offers private jet owners an affordable and sustainable way to meet their transportation needs by enabling them to use the Pioneer jet for quick urban flights or to connect their place of business or residence to the closest airport.
Despite their promise, eVTOLs, including Lilium’s Pioneer jet, have faced regulatory challenges and are still awaiting certification from aviation authorities in both the US and Europe. Lilium expects to achieve final type and production certification from the FAA and EASA in 2025 at the earliest.
Lilium’s strategy to start taking orders before obtaining full certification is not unusual in the private aviation market, as it helps secure a revenue stream while navigating the complex regulatory landscape.
With its focus on the Texas market, Lilium plans to streamline support, maintenance, and repair services. While the eVTOL industry has seen its share of ups and downs, Lilium’s proactive approach and strategic partnerships with EMC Jet demonstrate a commitment to making eVTOLs a reality in the near future.
The eVTOL sector is rapidly evolving, with various companies striving to bring air taxis to urban skies. Lilium’s proactive approach sets it apart, and its partnership with EMC Jet marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable urban air mobility.