McLaren’s Frank Stephenson Signs On To Design Electric Jets For Lilium

Ever since Frank Stephenson left McLaren, we’ve been wondering what he’d do next. And now we know.

The highly accomplished automotive designer is taking up a new role as head of product design at Lilium. Based in Munich, Lilium is developing a two-seat electric jet aircraft that aims to revolutionize transportation. Not in between cities, but within them.

In automotive spheres, Stephenson’s work speaks for itself. The Moroccan-born, Spanish-educated American designer started out at Ford, then joined BMW where he designed the X5 and the reborn Mini. He designed the F430 at Ferrari, the MC12 for Maserati, and ran the design departments at Fiat, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo. Most recently, he served as design director at McLaren, penning the design language that has characterized most of its modern supercars. (He’s also one of the nicest guys in the business.)

“My last job was as high up as you could be in the car design world,” said Stephenson upon his appointment. “The obvious question was – what next? But it wasn’t one I could easily answer. And then this incredible company – founded by four super-smart young guys – came along and it immediately felt like exactly the right move. Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky. The technology that they have already developed is truly mind boggling.”

An Electric Jet For The City

The two-passenger Lilium Jet incorporates 36 individual electric jet engines into its wings. They’re envisioned to allow the aircraft to travel at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph) and up to 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge. It’s been developed as a new solution for urban transportation. And it’s claimed to be up to 90 percent more efficient than its nearest competitor.

“Frank’s work is unique – he creates entirely new design languages that aren’t like anything that anyone has ever seen before. That is exactly what we’re trying to achieve at Lilium,” said CEO and co-founder Daniel Wiegand. “It is a sign of our clear leadership in this field that someone of Frank’s calibre is choosing to join us as we approach production of the Lilium Jet and launch of the Lilium service.”

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  • What an incredibly exciting job!

    • SteersUright

      Seriously.

  • SteersUright

    Flying cars, personal helicopters, electric jets, full-size drones for people to ride on…I just cant help but wonder what air-traffic will look like 40 years from now.

    Separately, what makes this a “jet”? There are no actual jet engines, just ducted fans from what I see.

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