The co-founder, major shareholder and outgoing boss of Lilium wants to broaden the publicly listed e-air taxi company. As Daniel Wiegand explained, the current development of the model for four or six people plus a pilot should not remain the same. After delays, it should now be ready for use in 2025.
In his future role as chief engineer and head of future programs, the 36-year-old considers the development of a “small regional airliner” to a two-seater, autonomously flying “personal aircraft” to be possible in the medium term. First, however, the markets would have to be sounded out.
Not only Lilium, but also other electric air taxi companies such as Volocopter are already exploring or testing an expansion of their model range. It became public that the major US Lilium competitor Joby Aviation had quietly bought into the German hydrogen aircraft start-up H2Fly, reports the specialist service “The Air Current”.
The Stuttgart-based company has tested a four-seater hydrogen aircraft with the help of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). According to Wiegand, Lilium will not be looking at hydrogen propulsion, at least for the moment.
Wiegand explained that he initiated the change at the top of the board himself, which was planned for August, because the start-up had grown into a dimension that required a great deal of experience to be managed. The ex-Airbus manager Klaus Roewe brings them with him as the new boss, who held key positions in the Airbus A320 program.
He himself is not “the classic alpha-male career manager who is CEO because he wanted to be CEO,” Wiegand said. He always wanted to implement the vision of electric flight. Wiegand does not assume that the strategy will change under the new CEO.
With the current Lilium model, the cornerstones of the construction have now been determined. After the number of jet engines had already been reduced from 36 to 30, the model now also has a landing gear, which in exceptional cases would also make normal landings and not just vertical maneuvers possible. But that is only for emergencies. The chassis saves energy and thus increases range. This is now estimated at 250 kilometers physical range and 175 kilometers operational range.
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