Lilium Signs eVTOL Jet Charging Deal, Launches Customer Service Business

The manufacturer’s flagship Lilium Jet—an all-electric seven-seater—will be supported by chargers from Star Charge and the company’s new service, Power-On.

Lilium, manufacturer of the seven-seat electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) Lilium Jet, on Tuesday made a pair of updates geared toward building out the ecosystem around its flagship aircraft.

At the Singapore Airshow, the German firm announced a partnership with electric charging infrastructure provider Star Charge to develop the charging systems for its ground and flight testing aircraft, the first of which are now in production. The manufacturer also launched what it said is the first eVTOL customer service business, which will provide battery management, maintenance, flight operations, training, and digital solutions to customers.

Lilium placed a “first order”—implying, perhaps, that another is on the horizon—for 120 Star Charge systems, which will support the company’s testing, maintenance, and delivery center activities later this year. It will also deliver chargers to customers investing in vertiports, which will serve as hubs for future operations.

The systems are billed as high-performance, with extra-long, liquid-cooled cables designed to significantly reduce charge time. They are suitable for a variety of different landing sites, Lilium said.

Crucially, Star Charge systems are also fully compatible with the Combined Charging System (CCS), which has been proposed as the universal standard for electric aircraft charging. CCS chargers are designed to accommodate the Lilium Jet and all other CCS-compatible air and ground vehicles.

Lilium and several other manufacturers—including Archer Aviation, Beta Technologies, Volocopter, Overair, Boeing’s Wisk Aero, and Embraer’s Eve Air Mobility—backed the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) endorsement of CCS in September.

“We are grateful to have received the first order of CCS chargers by a leading eVTOL manufacturer and look forward to commencing deliveries this year,” said Ji Cheng, CEO of Star Charge Europe.

Lilium expects the new systems will substantially lower charging time compared to chargers without liquid-cooled cables, reducing turnaround time and maximizing hours in the sky.

Joby Aviation, which has proposed its own charging standard—the global electric aviation charging system (GEACS)—said its system will include a coolant mechanism that keeps aircraft batteries at the ideal temperature during charging.

The company has positioned GEACS as a substitute for the CCS, but both standards propose universal charging systems for electric aircraft.

“Our partnership with Star Charge will support the Lilium Jet´s development and certification along with our customers’ ground infrastructure development,”  said Sebastien Borel, chief commercial officer of Lilium. “Its high-performance and liquid-cooled charging cable is a unique feature, and Star Charge´s proven expertise in charging infrastructure is crucial for regional air mobility.”

Regional air mobility (RAM) is a subset of the broader advanced air mobility (AAM) industry focused on connecting cities within a region, as Lilium intends to do. RAM contrasts with the urban air mobility (UAM) model being pursued by other eVTOL manufacturers, which are planning operations within a single city or metropolitan area.

Lilium’s electric seven-seat Jet is expected to fly RAM routes between towns and inner cities, cruising at 162 knots on trips spanning 25 to 125 sm (22 to 109 nm). To support those operations, the company is launching Power-On, a new business unit that will offer a full portfolio of aircraft manufacturer services. 

Power-On will support customers with training services, maintenance operations, flight operations support, ground service equipment, digital solutions, and management and distribution of materials and batteries.

Dominique Decard, vice president of flight operations and customer service for Lilium, has been appointed to lead the new unit, which falls under the company’s aftermarket services business. Decard is an engineer and 20-year veteran of the airline industry who joined Lilium in 2018.

The manufacturer estimated that the services market for the Lilium Jet will hit $5 billion by 2035, with Power-On being a key catalyst.

“As we officially launch Lilium Power-On, our priority will be to test the full range of products and services to support our future operators during [the] Lilium flight testing campaign and continue to contract and onboard the best partners for our working ecosystem,” said Decard. “The services revenue and contribution margins will play a crucial role in Lilium’s profitability.”

Already, Lilium has several partnerships in place for its aftermarket services business. These include flight training agreements with Lufthansa Aviation Training and FlightSafety International to prepare the initial cohort of Jet pilots. Most recently, it agreed a global parts management and distribution partnership with U.K.-based AJW Group.

“As RAM accelerates, our partners can rely on Lilium to provide a comprehensive aircraft manufacturer service organization,” said Klaus Roewe, CEO of Lilium. “The team is focused on enabling seamless, efficient services and support through premium aftermarket products and world-class partners.”

In December, Lilium began production of seven Lilium Jets, which the manufacturer will use in flight testing with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The milestone followed EASA Design Organization Approval, which is essentially the regulator’s blessing that Lilium adheres to the required standards for designing novel aircraft.

The company plans for its flagship model to enter commercial service in 2026. As its global fleet expands, the aftermarket services business is expected to generate significant recurring revenue.

Earlier this month, Lilium designated Orlando International Airport (KMCO) as the hub for its U.S. operations in Florida. Its agreement with FlightSafety International will cover pilot training for those services, while helicopter operator Bristow Group will provide Part 145 maintenance support. Fractional jet ownership company NetJets has agreed to purchase 150 Lilium Jets and operate the service.

This week, the manufacturer announced another partnership with the Philippines’ PhilJets, which intends to purchase and operate 10 Jets. Its largest agreement outside the U.S. is with Azul Brazilian Airlines: a $1 billion deal for the purchase and operation of 220 aircraft.

Lilium also has 100 aircraft orders apiece from Saudi Arabia national airline Saudia and Chinese helicopter operator Heli-Eastern. It intends to establish a footprint in both countries. Meanwhile, the firm is exploring a strategic partnership with Lufthansa to scale eVTOL operations across Europe.

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