The electric air taxi start-up Lilium is relying on Customcells for the series production of battery cells for the seven-seater Lilium Jet. In future, the Porsche partner will be one of the main suppliers to make the existing Lilium battery technology ready for series production and produce it at its plant in Tübingen.
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Both companies announce this in their own press releases – without, however, giving details of the agreement. Lilium speaks unspecifically of “large-scale lithium-ion batteries” that Customcells will produce for the eVTOL aircraft based on the technology licensed from Lilium. The battery specialist will “play a critical role in scaling up production of the 7-Lilium jet ahead of its planned launch in 2024”, both announcements say.
The battery cells will be manufactured in Tübingen, where Customcells says it guarantees production capacity in close cooperation with partner and equipment manufacturer Manz AG. According to Leopold König, co-founder and CEO of Customcells, the partnership brings together two leading German innovators. “It underlines the strength of the German manufacturing and technology ecosystem. The successful development and series production of high-performance batteries is a key competitive and location factor for Germany to actively shape the sustainable mobility of tomorrow. We bring our customised production and flexible manufacturing concepts to the partnership with Lilium.”
Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, describes Customcells with its experience in the development and production of customised lithium-ion batteries as an ideal partner. Customcells will set up silicon anode battery manufacturing for several customers, he said. “We are excited to work together in a southern German cluster for the next generation of Li-ion batteries for high-performance automotive and aerospace applications.”
Indeed, there are also plans for partner Porsche to produce high-performance cells based on silicon as the anode material. This had already been announced by Porsche boss Oliver Blume at Volkswagen’s “Power Day” in mid-March and was confirmed again in the course of the joint venture foundation between Customcells and Porsche in June. The joint venture – Cellforce Group GmbH – will also be based in Tübingen and will be 83.75 percent owned by Porsche. The main objective of the joint venture is to operate a production plant with a capacity of at least 100 MWh per year. A few days ago it became known that Porsche and two other shareholders have now also joined Customcells – and the path could lead away from custom-made products towards large-scale cell production.
Lilium is a Bavarian electric flight taxi start-up. As previously mentioned, the first passenger flights with the Lilium Jet are scheduled to take place from 2024. By 2025, the company is planning the first local flights in certain regions. In Florida, this is to happen in Lake Nona near Orlando – from there Lilium wants to connect the region around Orlando itself with Miami in the south and Jacksonville in the north of Florida.
Lilium says it employs around 650 people, including 400 engineers. At the end of March, the company, which was founded in 2015, announced its listing on the US stock exchange Nasdaq – via a merger with SPAC Qell Acquisition. New inflows of funds are also likely to be necessary: According to recent research by Welt am Sonntag, the electric aerial taxi start-up is short of cash. The company has amended its 2019 balance sheet to include a going concern risk note, the report says. Lilium is now drawing attention to the fact that without the upcoming US IPO or alternative financing in December 2022, it will run out of money.
Update 13 September 2021
The Munich-based electric aerial taxi manufacturer Lilium is expected to be listed on the US technology exchange Nasdaq from this Wednesday (15 September). For this purpose, the company is merging with the already listed special purpose entity Qell, as announced. The shareholders of the latter have now voted in favour of the merger. However, Lilium’s proceeds from the IPO are significantly less than hoped for, as 65 per cent of the original Qell shareholders preferred to return their securities instead of exchanging them for Lilium shares. In March, the Lilium management around CEO Daniel Wiegand had still hoped for proceeds of almost 830 million dollars. Now Lilium was only able to collect 584 million dollars.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.
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