Lilium gears up for production of Lilium Jets electric propulsion units

Lilium N.V. developer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet, announced that it has started installation of state-of-the-art assembly equipment for the serial production of the Lilium Jets propulsion units.

Prototype Lilium Jet propulsion units are due to start coming off the new line in Q2 2024, to be used for testing and the flight test campaign. This development marks another important milestone in the industrialization of the Lilium Jet, following the start of production of the Lilium Jet in late 2023.

For design and construction of the Lilium Jet’s propulsion assembly line, Lilium has partnered with Schnaithmann Maschinenbau GmbH, the German automation and robotics company that is also supporting Lilium with workflow design and jigs and tools for Liliums aerostructures assembly and the Lilium Jet final assembly line.

Based near the automotive hub of Stuttgart, Schnaithmann is a global leader in designing and supplying automated, scalable industrial solutions, with long-standing partnerships in high-volume industries, especially automotive.

Collaboration between Lilium and Schnaithmann started several years ago with initial development of production plans for the Lilium Jet. Liliums aerostructures assembly line is already utilizing equipment provided by Schnaithmann for handling of the Lilium Jets wings and canards. The propulsion assembly line announced today is located in the same building as Liliums aerostructures assembly line.

Jan Nowacki, Lilium senior vice president manufacturing, said: “We are delighted to be able to move forward towards production of our jet propulsion system. The electric jet engine is a unique, core Lilium technology, critical for aircraft performance and for which we have secured not only a team of highly qualified system suppliers but also important intellectual property. With the support of Schnaithmann, we look forward to implementing state-of-the-art manufacturing solutions capable of being scaled-up and replicated for high-volume production.”

Gerd Maier, Schnaithmann member of the management board, sales and marketing,remarked: With nearly 40 years of experience in supplying automation technology to global industries, we are proud to participate in the industrialization of the Lilium Jet. The eVTOL industry has the potential to change aviation in a positive, sustainable way, and we are delighted to be able to play a key role in helping Lilium scale up towards high-volume production.

First Lilium Jet engine build

The electric jet propulsion unit is a core company technology and key to providing the required performance, unit economics and comfort for regional air mobility.

Consisting of electric jet engines integrated into the propulsion mounting system that forms the rear part of the wings and front aerofoils, the Lilium Jets unique propulsion system will provide advantages in payload, aerodynamic efficiency and a reduced noise profile, while also providing thrust vector control to maneuver the Lilium Jet through every phase of flight.

Major subassemblies of the propulsion unit are delivered to Lilium by a team of qualified suppliers including Honeywell in alliance with Denso (e-motor), Aeronamic (fan), and SKF (electric motor bearings).

In 2023, following successful testing and characterization of engine systems, including the fan, stator and e-motor, Lilium assembled the first complete Lilium Jet electric engine on a pre-series line. The Lilium Jet e-motor has been designed to deliver industry-leading power density of over 100kW from a system weighing just over 4kg.