Lilium Begins Producing Battery Packs for Electric Jet

Each electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) Lilium Jet will include 10 battery packs, which provide range and redundancy.

Lilium electric Jet battery packs

At Lilium’s purpose-built battery factory in Munich, the company begins manufacturing battery packs for its flagship Lilium Jet. [Courtesy: Lilium]

German manufacturer Lilium, which is developing what it says will be the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet for regional travel, is continuing to ramp up manufacturing.

Following the start of aircraft production in December, the company on Tuesday began building the aviation-grade battery packs that will power its flagship Lilium Jet: a seven-seat eVTOL designed for regional air mobility (RAM) services.

Each Jet will be fitted with 10 independent battery packs, intended to boost range. The packs are also redundant, allowing the aircraft to fly and land safely if one fails. According to Lilium, production follows extensive testing all the way down to the individual battery cell.

The first battery packs off the assembly line at the manufacturer’s purpose-built battery factory, just outside its headquarters in Munich, will be used to perform verification testing ahead of the Lilium Jet’s first piloted flight. That milestone is being targeted for late 2024.

“The start of production of the battery packs is a proud moment for Lilium,” said Yves Yemsi, chief operating officer of Lilium. “Battery technology is central to the goal of delivering sustainable regional air mobility, including overcoming the challenges of developing and industrializing a battery pack that will meet the stringent safety standards of aircraft certification.”

Lilium’s battery packs are composed of lithium-ion cells with silicon-dominant anodes. The company claims these enable greater energy, power, and fast-charging capabilities than graphite anode cells, which are much more common in batteries today. However, many automakers, including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and General Motors, are eyeing transitions to silicon anodes, which are believed to provide a higher energy density than graphite.

The packs are designed to meet European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) safety standards around shock resistance, heat resistance, containment, and redundancy. According to Lilium, it has secured intellectual property rights for the technology.

The German manufacturer says its batteries are designed to support a higher power and energy density for regional—rather than urban—air mobility operations, with the implication being that they are more powerful than those of competitors focused on urban air mobility (UAM).

RAM and UAM are subsets of advanced air mobility (AAM). RAM seeks to connect cities within a region, while UAM focuses more on intracity operations. The Lilium Jet is expected to cruise at 162 knots on regional trips spanning 25 to 125 sm (22 to 109 nm).

Each Jet’s 10 battery packs will power electric jet engines produced by Honeywell and Japan’s Denso. Propulsion comes in the form of 36 electric ducted fans embedded in the aircraft’s fixed wings. The unique configuration sacrifices hover efficiency for improved cruise efficiency and lower noise.

Lilium began building its flagship aircraft in December with the delivery of seven fuselages to its manufacturing facility, ramping up production in February with the installation of a serial production line for the Jet’s propulsion systems.

These components and others will be assembled into seven aircraft, which the company intends to use for piloted flight testing and, later, for-credit evaluations with EASA. It hopes to achieve type certification in 2025 ahead of a planned commercial launch in 2026.

In February, Lilium designated Orlando International Airport (KMCO) as the hub for its U.S. operations in Florida.

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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