On The Radar
Lilium’s latest shareholder letter provides a summary of a busy 2022 for the eVTOL aircraft developer as it steps up efforts to complete type certification of its six-passenger Lilium Jet by the end of 2025. The German company reported that in the most recent quarter, it completed the submission of certification plans covering all EASA’s requirements, as well as its third audit to secure design organization approval.
Other accomplishments mentioned in the document include the recent cruise speed record achieved in its Phoenix technology demonstrator during flight tests in Spain. Lilium also now reports provisional sales agreements covering 640 aircraft, including new commitments from Greek charter flight group Ifly, and pre-delivery payments received from eVolare.
Last year also saw Lilium expand its network of key suppliers, with the latest additions including Collins Aerospace and GKN Aerospace. The company says it has made progress with production tasks, including the layup molds that Aciturri will use to manufacture composite fuselages under plans to start assembling the first type-confirming aircraft before the end of 2023 to meet the goal of starting piloted flight testing in 2024.
The shareholder letter also includes significant details on plans for the Lilium Jet’s propulsion system. Customcells is now making weekly deliveries of the high-silicon-content batteries it is producing for the all-electric aircraft from its factory in Tübingen in Germany, which is expected to deliver several thousand of the cells annually. The supplier, which also makes batteries for ground vehicles and marine vessels, says it is on track to meet aviation industry standards for traceability and process control.
The batteries for Lilium are based on the silicon anode cell technology developed by a company called Ionblox to deliver greater energy and power density combined with higher cycle life. At the production stage, Customcells is leveraging a pre-lithiation process being jointly industrialized with Lilium to insert additional lithium into the cells to compensate for the loss of the material during the first production cycle. Lilium reported that independent laboratory testing has shown an 88 percent energy retention rate, which is above the 80 percent target anticipated after 800 charging cycles with 100 percent depth of discharge.
As of the end of the 2022 financial year, Lilium reported liquidity of €206 million and that “constructive discussions on follow-up funding” are progressing. The company says it has implemented some cost savings while stressing that it will maintain spending levels to “hold program timing.”