Flying cars are a cornerstone of futurism but most models have been consigned to the dustbin of history.
Lilium Jet intends to be the company that turns fantasy into reality and the German firm is off to a good start as a prototype has successfully completed a series of test flights.
The two-seater prototype features an electric powertrain and 36 electric engines which are mounted to its wings via 12 moveable flaps. The flaps are pointed down during takeoff and gradually tilt into a horizontal position to provide forward thrust. When the flaps are fully horizontal, the prototype operates the same way as a conventional airplane.
This setup allows the Lilium Jet to takeoff and land like a helicopter but travel as fast as an airplane. In this particular application, the prototype has a maximum cruising speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a range in excess of 300 km (186 miles).
The company says the jet will travel five times faster than a car even though the “power consumption per km” will be comparable to an electric vehicle. Of course, when an EV runs out of juice it doesn’t fall from the sky. Lilium Jet has taken this into consideration and has designed the power cells so they will continue to deliver “sufficient power for continued flight and a safe landing in the unlikely event that part of the battery configuration fails.”
Lilium Jet eventually intents to build a five-seat model that can be used in urban environments. The company also envisions an Uber-style on-demand air transportation service where you can easily book a flight from a smartphone app.
H/T to The Verge