Carbon-fiber manufacturer Toray Industries will supply composite materials to eVTOL aircraft developer Lilium for its new Lilium Jet. Under an agreement announced on July 14, Japan-based Toray will supply its German partner with materials to build further technology demonstrator versions of the five-seat, all-electric aircraft, as well as various of Lilium’s suppliers that will manufacture parts for prototypes and serial production.
The partnership further calls for the engineering teams at Lilium and Toray to work together on research and development focused on other high-performance, lightweight materials. Toray has extensive experience in developing carbon-fiber for aerospace applications, such as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
“Securing this supply agreement marks an important step in the maturity of our supply chain and in our preparations for serial production,” said Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. The company expects to be ready for the Lilium Jet to begin commercial operations in 2025, offering a range of up to 186 miles.
“We are pleased to be selected as a partner by Lilium, one of the most promising companies in this emerging market sector,” commented Toray senior v-p Minoru Yoshinaga. “We look forward to working with Lilium to solve the environmental issues in urban areas, contributing by the power of materials.”
At its base near Munich, Lilium is preparing to resume ground testing with a second demonstrator aircraft that has been interrupted by Covid-19 workplace restrictions. This will be followed by further flight testing that will aim to expand the flight envelope through to full transition flight, with tests set to continue into 2021.
In June, private investment group Baillie Gifford invested $35 million in Lilium, taking the total capital raised by the startup to more than $375 million. Baillie Gifford is a major investor in electric car maker Tesla.