German aviation start-up Lilium has raised $90 million in its latest round of financing. The Munich-based firm is developing the world’s first all electric two-seat jet, which can take off and land vertically but fly horizontally.
Lilium was founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen. The company has raised more than $100 million in total funding since then. This new round of funding was led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings. It also included LGT, a private banking and asset management group based in Liechtenstein; Atomico, a top European venture firm; and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams’ investment firm Obvious Ventures.
“This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality. This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionise the way we travel in and around the world’s cities,” Daniel Wiegand, Lilium co-founder and CEO said.
“It makes Lilium one of the best funded electric aircraft projects in the world. Our backers recognise that Lilium’s innovative eVTOL technology puts us in the lead in this exciting new industry, with no other company promising the economy, speed, range and low-noise levels of the Lilium Jet.”
Lilium say the investment will be used to develop a five-seat jet and to grow the company’s current team of more than 70. According to the statement released on Tuesday, the finished product will be able to fly for a full hour on a single charge, at speeds of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour. Its engines “are highly efficient and ultra-low noise, allowing it to operate in densely populated urban areas, while also covering longer distances at high speed with zero emissions.”
“From underdeveloped regions with poor road infrastructure, to the developed world with traffic congestion and sprawl, new possibilities emerge when convenient daily flight becomes an option for all of us,” said David Wallerstein, Chief Exploration Officer at Tencent.
Electric aircrafts are emerging as new frontiers in the aerospace industry, according to a new report on the market. Google, Uber and Airbus are all said to be working on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts that will eventually be even cheaper than the cost of the fuel required to drive one's own car.
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(Image Credit - Lilium)