The German vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) company Lilium just won the “Early Stage Company of the Year” Global CleanTech 100 award, which is recognizing its early work on electric aircraft mobility and potential leadership for initial market share.
VTOL Startup Gets Recognised
We’ve already covered Lilium several times, which seems to be warranted now that the German VTOL startup has received the 2018 “Early Stage Company of the Year” award from the Global CleanTech 100 group.
The Global Cleantech 100 event highlights the most innovative and promising ideas that aim to solve current clean technology challenges. The group believes Lilium can make the most significant market impact within the next 5 to 10 years of any other startup in the competition. The group combined its proprietary CTG research data that weighs the qualitative judgments of hundreds of nominations with a global 86-person expert panel to come to that conclusion. In order to qualify for the nomination, companies must be independent, for-profit, cleantech companies, and not listed on any major stock exchange.
So, does this means we’ll have private and commercial VTOLs within the next few years? It sounds as if both the Global Cleantech 100 event and Lilium believe we can.
The potential of electric VTOLs can’t be overstated. Although some worry that the airways will be as congested as our highways are when removing traffic from the ground to the air, history has shown that air traffic has evolved to meet growing demands. Global aviation regulatory groups have consistently met increasing air traffic demands and devised security measures to avoid accidents. Of course, nothing is foolproof and accidents will happen. Opening the 500–3,000 feet (100–1000 meter) airspace to air traffic will mean more regulations, and hopefully as few accidents as possible will help further tweak those regulations.
Lilium Took Its VTOL Aircraft To The Air Already
To date, Lilium has already tested a prototype of its 5-seat VTOL jet, which will reach speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 MPH). The company flew a 2-seat VTOL prototype in Munich. The final Lilium VTOL will fly up to 1 hour on a single charge, making it perfect for short-proximity hops such as between airports or airport-to-city connections.
According to Patrick Nathen, Lilium’s co-founder and Head of Design & Calculation: “We are making incredible progress towards our dream of developing a low-cost, zero-emissions, high-speed jet that will revolutionize the way people move in and around the world’s cities. To win this award is a great privilege for everyone at Lilium, and also a sign of how much we’ve achieved already, and how much potential the Lilium jet has.”
Lilium has gathered a lot of interest and financing rounds. It has also attracted talent from other electric vehicle (EV) industries, such as ex-employees from Tesla, as The Beam wrote here on CleanTechnica.
It’s exciting witnessing the beginning of new eras, and the electric mobility arena is a hot one that just keeps on growing and developing, potentially liberating us from hundreds of traditional stagnating ways to move about this planet.