Lilium, the startup that wants to launch a fleet of flying electric cars in cities across the globe by 2025, is awaiting safety approval in Europe and the USA. Meanwhile, the Munich-based company will be joined by Christopher Delbrueck as its first CFO.
Delbrueck will take up his role with Lilium in September, coming from being an acting chief executive officer at the German energy company Uniper SE. Delbrück is credited with playing an instrumental role in the listing of Uniper in 2016 as well as the subsequent tripling of its share price. His previous roles include strategy, business development and leading financial roles at E.ON, the German DAX-listed energy company, as well as four years with the Boston Consulting Group.
Commenting on his appointment, Delbrueck said: “The urban air mobility market will see tremendous growth over the next decade and I believe Lilium has both the team and the technology to capitalise on this growth and become one of the world’s leading technology companies.”
The German VTOL startup is seeking regulatory approval for the world’s first all-electric vertical takeoff and landing passenger jet, which will be a five-seat air taxi. In an interview, Delbrueck revealed that Lilium is applying for certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (ESEA) and will also commence an application with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Gaining regulatory approval in the U.S. is seen as a key step for Lilium, particularly in view of the number of existing helipads and airfields that could host its craft and lever spending on infrastructure. In Europe, Volocopter and Fraport AG – the owner and manager of FRA, Germany’s biggest airport, intend to develop concepts for the ground infrastructure and the operation of electric aerial taxis at airports.
The emission-free pay-per-ride service uses 36 rotors for speeds of up to 300 kph. In 2017, the Lilium prototype successfully transitioned between hover mode and horizontal flight. The aircraft should have a 300-kilometre range, which would allow it to, for example, travel between New York and Boston, or from Hamburg to Berlin, in around an hour. Initially, the plan is to have a pilot on board, although the eventual application of the aircraft will be autonomous.