Germany's Lilium, positioned to be a leader in regional electric air mobility with the development of its electric vertical take-off and landing jet, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Qell Acquisition, a publicly listed special purpose acquisition company. Qell, led by Barry Engle, a former president of General Motors North America, is focused on developing next-generation, sustainable mobility. Upon closing of the transaction, the company will be called Lilium, and it is anticipated that ordinary shares will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LILM.
Using its seven-seater Lilium Jet, Lilium's regional shuttle service will enable sustainable, high-speed transportation. The seven-seater jet is the first of Lilium's serial aircraft. It is capable of quiet vertical take-off, allowing Lilium access to more landing sites and the opportunity to build higher network density, avoiding the need for expensive ground infrastructure. The seven-seater Lilium Jet and regional shuttle service business model are projected to deliver the best unit economics, with passenger and enterprise opportunities.
The Lilium seven-seater jet has a projected cruise speed of 175 mph at 10,000 ft and a range of over 155 miles, including reserves. It is the culmination of five years of technological development across four generations of technology demonstrators, including Lilium's full-scale five-seater.
Lilium applied for concurrent type certification for a high-capacity aircraft with EASA and the FAA in 2018. Development of the seven-seater Lilium Jet began in stealth mode following this milestone. In 2020 the aircraft received CRI-A01 certification basis from EASA.
Co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand says: “We're incredibly excited to reveal the development of our seven-seater Lilium Jet and announce the next stage of our growth. This is a validation of all the hard work over the last five years from our talented team and our world-class partners and investors. Our vision is to create a sustainable and accessible mode of high-speed travel and bring this to every community. Transport infrastructure is broken. It is costly in personal time, space consumption and carbon emissions. We are pursuing our unique electric jet technology because it is the key to higher-capacity aircraft, with lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions.
“This announcement brings us closer to launching our passenger service. In Qell, we have found a partner that shares our ambition for sustainable mobility and brings tremendous experience in running mobility and hardware businesses.”
Qell founder and CEO Barry Engle adds: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Lilium to together build the leader in regional electric air mobility. Qell set out to find an exceptional and ambitious technology company, with significant growth potential, and in Lilium we have found that. Lilium has unique technology and one of the most accomplished engineering and commercial teams in electric aviation. The seven-seater Lilium Jet is a game-changer for transportation. The experienced Qell leadership team is looking forward to working with Lilium. Our board has a collective set of experiences in growing businesses, strengthening operations, expanding globally, raising capital and creating long-term value.
“I have spent my career in mobility and been part of the electrification of the automotive industry. The market and societal potential from the electrification of air travel is enormous. I, and the whole team at Qell, are excited by the impact Lilium can have and the part we can play.”
The proceeds from the transaction are intended to fund the launch of commercial operations, planned for 2024. This includes the finalisation of serial production facilities in Germany, launch of serial production aircraft and completion of type certification.
Lilium has put in place a rigorous aerospace programme across all certification, design, testing and production phases, with maturity gates at every stage of the aircraft's development cycle. It has over 400 engineers and a combined 4,000 years of aerospace experience. Lilium's accomplished leadership team was previously responsible for developing and delivering some of the most successful and complex aircraft in aviation history, including the Airbus A320, A350 and A380, Eurofighter Typhoon, Gulfstream G650 and Harrier VTOL.
The seven-seater Lilium Jet will be the company's first aircraft to go into serial production. Lilium's aircraft will have 30 times fewer components than a commercial airliner and is designed for ease of manufacturability and scalability. The firm applies automotive-style design for manufacturing methods and is designing for fully automated high-quality production of its engines, actuators and batteries.
Lilium is partnering with world-class suppliers whose technology and services have been certified in aerospace around the world for decades. This includes: Toray Industries, providing the carbon composites for the aircraft's primary structures; Aciturri, manufacturing the fuselage and wing systems; and Lufthansa Aviation Training, training Lilium's pilots.
To date, Lilium has secured approximately $200 million in commitments from infrastructure partners, including Ferrovial and Tavistock Development Company. Up to 14 vertiports are already planned in Florida. The company is also in advanced discussions with key infrastructure partners for 10 vertiports to build a network across Europe.