Air taxi prototype breaks 100km per hour as race to dominate industry heats up

An electric powered flying-taxi has reached speeds in excess of 100 km/h, claimed German developers, Lilium. 

Powered by 36-electric engines, the prototype has the capacity to hold five people. While the test flight was unmanned, the Munich-based developers plan to bring in on-board pilots in the future.  

The developers claim the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft has capacity to travel 300km in an hour, offering an emissions-free alternative to travelling by airline, road or rail.

"We are taking tangible and concrete steps towards making our vision of regional air mobility a reality, and we are doing it on time," said CEO Daniel Wiegand, who founded Lilium in 2015 with three friends from the Technical University of Munich.

The company are developing a second manufacturing facility, giving the company the potential to make hundreds of crafts ahead of its planned commercial launch in 2025. 

Volocopter was tested in Singapore. Promotional image (CREDIT: Nikolay Kazakov)

Volocopter was tested in Singapore. Promotional image (CREDIT: Nikolay Kazakov)

Lilium is part of growing eVTOL industry with scores of companies racing to develop and test prototypes, many of which rely on drone technology. German-rival Volocopter conducted a manned-test of it's prototype, Tuesday, in Singapore. 

The company claims its battery-run multicopter has a top speed of 110 km/h. 

Uber, who are developing their own eVTOL project, claim that flying taxi services will be safer than helicopters as they will not depend on any single component to stay airborne. 

Despite this many challenges remain for the burgeoning eVTOL industry, safety issues and infrastructure concerns remain. 

Source(s): Reuters