Lilium, a leading developer of eVTOL technology, has entered talks to acquire more funding amid criticism regarding its product design.
Competition within the electric mobility space is brutal, and nowhere is that more evident than in the electric aircraft space. There are countless companies, all of which are vying for funding for projects that will take not months but years to complete. Now, that competition has entered the limelight as eVTOL developer Lilium has entered talks for more funding and investors amid a storm of criticism.
Reuters reports that Lilium is entering talks with undisclosed parties to increase investment into the business as it continues to work toward getting its electric jet approved by regulators.
This isn’t the first time Lilium has struggled with cash, and due to the lengthy regulatory process aircraft must endure, it likely won’t be the last. Most recently, Lilium acquired a new set of corporate partners and investors in a funding round during the final quarter of last year, netting the business 119 million euros ($129 million). The electric plane developer ended the year with 206 million euros ($223 million) in cash reserves.
Criticism of the company’s jet design stems from numerous design choices, but perhaps the most vocal circle around Lilium’s battery design, which some critics believe is “outside of the realm of possibility,” and the company’s unique “turbofan” propulsion design, in which the electric motors are integrated into the wings and operate similarly to gas-powered turbines.
In response to this criticism, Lilium CEO and previous Airbus chairman Klaus Roewe told Reuters while the Lilium jet design is unique and “unconstrained,” he disagreed that it was either impractical or overly complex. It should be noted that Lilium has successfully test-flown its eVTOL in hovering and max speed flight.