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Lilium Gains $35 Million for its Air Taxi Prototype

Baillie Gifford, Tesla’s second largest shareholder, just invested $35 million to the air taxi startup Lilium on Monday. The German firm had raised $240 million for its goal to launch an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

Both BG and Lilium expect the startup’s eVTOL vehicle to launch in 2025 while other candidates struggle to generate income. This makes the technology firm one of the few promising firms to support air taxis to replace land equivalents.

The notion adds the wise Scottish asset management firm, Baillie Gifford, to its list of investors. As per public knowledge, the firm owns about 7.67 percent of Tesla, which is around $10.35 billion. Other investors include LGT, Atomico, Fregeist Capital, and Tencent.

Lilium’s chief financial officer was proud to say Baillie Gifford is one of the most influential tech investors today. Christopher Delbruck told technology news outlets that its investment represents a prominent vote of confidence to its services.

Despite its potential, Lilium’s funding still seems to fall short over market estimates. Stock markets anticipated a $400-500 million investment last year, although the startup had denied ever having the goal.

In fact, the company immediately denied trying to earn that much money, citing lower labor costs in Germany. A spokesperson said the firm is happy with how much investments it’s attracted from existing and new investors.

The Lilium Jet and Its Main Rival, Heavyside

Lilium’s “flying car” prototype expects to carry a handful of passengers through electricity-based transportation. As of now, they’re only expected for short flights within a city or region.

Its first testing phase for its five-seater 36-rotor prototype took place last October which hit 100 km/h speeds. Lilium hopes to launch passenger operations for commercial use around the world by 2025.

When launched, the Lilium Jet hopes to reach a maximum of 300 kilometers with a 300 km/h top speed. If successful, this modern technology would reach beyond its top competitor’s limit, such as that of Kitty Hawk’s.

The electric flight startup Kitty Hawk seeks to hover with a maximum of about half the Lilium Jet’s capacity. The German firm’s biggest rival, which launched in October, is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page.

Instead of its reach, Kitty Hawk focused on the lack of noise it makes for its new aircraft. Heavyside only puts out 38 dBA in comparison to a helicopter’s 80 dBA typical emission.

As per its earlier announcement, the vehicle would be about one-third of the size of a Cessna airplane.

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