Imagine stepping out of your office and onto the street. Your taxi has arrived, ordered a few minutes earlier through an app on your smartphone. Your taxi is all electric and can travel up to 186 miles on a single charge. You get in, shut the door and fly away? While this may seem like a scenario from the distant future, the small German startup Lillium is pushing for this to be the norm sooner than you may think.
According to Lillium, their all-electric air taxi service will be up and running in multiple cities around the world as early as 2025. Their service plans to link multiple landing pads in various cities and will accommodate up to five travelers at a time. While the company is keeping the lid on tight with regard to how much fares will cost, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer has stated that rides will be comparable with other forms transportation. The service will be aimed at people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and not just wealthy business travelers.
Lillium’s electric jet will take off vertically much like a helicopter. Due to the Jet’s fixed-wing design, only 10% of its maximum of two thousand horsepower is used during flight. This is the reason that Lillium’s jet will be able to fly much further on a single charge than any of its competitors who are also looking to develop vehicles for electric air travel. While the company has not provided any details about the jet’s maximum weight capacity, it has stated that the jet will most definitely be able to hold up to five travelers, a pilot, and any luggage that the riders may have.
While some of their competitors are striving to corner the unmanned aerial vehicle travel market, Lillium plans to stick with a human pilot for the time being. They are doing so in order to expedite the certification process, which they are currently seeking to accomplish with both the European Aviation Safety Agency and the United States Federal Aviation Administration. As exciting as Lillium’s claims may be, they aren’t the only player in the game. As of the date of this writing there are more than 100 electric aircraft vehicle projects in development worldwide. Many of these models utilize an electric rotor as opposed to a jet engine as Lillium’s does. Which design will prove to be more effective in the long run is anyone’s guess, but large companies like Airbus and Boeing are betting big on the future of electric air travel. Competition from large competitors is sure to drive innovation, and will also ensure that electric air travel becomes a reality much sooner than previously anticipated.
What do our readers think? Is there a future for electric air travel? Will this form of transportation ever be affordable enough for your average person to utilize on a regular basis? Is it even possible to develop a network of safe and reliable air taxis that can travel between cities, or will any attempts to do so fall flat? We would love to hear from you and your thoughts on electric air travel in the comments section below.