German aerospace company Lilium has signed a $US1 billion deal to sell 220 of its 7-seat electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet to Brazilian airline Azul, in what will be the beginnings of a country-wide eVTOL network expected to kickstart in 2025.
The Bavaria-based Lilium says the $US1 billion deal will result in an eVTOL network across a country which sees close to 100 million domestic air passengers each year.
Brazil is also one of the world’s leading civilian helicopter and business aviation markets, making it an important market for Lilium.
“Azul has brought convenient and affordable air travel to underserved markets across the Americas and this makes them an ideal partner for Lilium,” said Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium.
Lilium has built and tested 4 generations and prototypes through an iterative process including the company’s current 5-seat technology demonstrator jet.
The 7-seat Lilium Jet consists of 6 passenger seats and one for the pilot and is able to reach a cruising speed of 280km/h with a maximum range of over 250-kilometres. Using Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (DEVT) technology consisting of 36 ducted fan jets embedded on the canard to main wing.
As Lilium’s chief technology officer Alastair McIntosh explained in a recent blog post: “Embedding the ducted fans into the wings eliminates the need for dedicated nacelles, reducing weight and minimising aerodynamic drag loss.”
Lilium has already signed agreements to establish airline operations in Europe, with Munich Airport and Nuremberg Airport set to become hubs for a proposed regional air mobility network in Bavaria, as as well as planned hubs in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as across the Pacific in Florida, US.
Lilium also signed an agreement with Luxembourg-based Luxaviation Group to build out airline operations in Europe.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.