Lilium, Honeywell & Denso develop e-drive for Lilium Jet
Bavarian electric air taxi startup Lilium has entered into a partnership with Honeywell and Denso to jointly develop and produce the electric motor for the Lilium Jet, whose market launch has been postponed to 2025.
Honeywell is already developing the Lilium Jet’s avionics and flight control systems and invested in Lilium in 2021. Honeywell is also developing aerospace electric propulsion solutions with Denso.
For almost two years, Lilium Aviation, Honeywell and Denso have been working on the propulsion system for the Lilium Jet. The electric motor’s rotor and stator are arranged in a centrifugal or “radial” configuration compared to conventional axial designs. This lowers the weight of the component, the manufacturing costs and is said to reduce susceptibility to damage from foreign objects. The first prototypes are said to be designed to extract over 100 kW of power from a system that weighs just over 4 kg.
For the series production of battery cells for its Lilium Jet, the startup is relying on Customcells. As one of the main suppliers, the Porsche partner is to make the existing Lilium battery technology ready for series production and produce it at its plant in Tübingen.
But the market launch is still a long time coming: only last month Lilium announced that the approval of the electric vertical launcher and thus the start of commercial operation would be postponed from 2024 to 2025. Lilium CEO Daniel Wiegand told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag that there were several reasons for the postponement. These included slight delays in the design of the model, the pandemic and detailed discussions with the regulatory authorities.
Yves Yemsi, Chief Operating Officer of Lilium said: “Lilium’s Procurement strategy is to engage with the technology providers with the most suitable expertise. We are already making great progress with Honeywell on its Honeywell Anthem integrated flight deck and flight control computers, and we are delighted to deepen our relationship by also partnering with Honeywell and DENSO on our e-motor. The collaboration with these two powerhouses takes us further along the path to revolutionizing regional air mobility.”