Lilium, Livent Partner On Lithium Battery Research


Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Lilium has announced a new research and development agreement with lithium producer Livent Corporation. The companies stated that the collaboration will focus on advancing lithium metal technology for use in high-performance battery cells. According to Lilium, the agreement is an “important step towards securing Lilium’s future access to the high-performance battery cell technology” to power its eVTOL “Lilium Jet.”

“This collaboration is a milestone in Lilium’s commitment to revolutionize regional air travel,” said Lilium Chief Operating Officer Yves Yemsi. “Innovation is at the heart of our mission, and to keep innovating we need to collaborate with the best in the industry. Livent’s unique expertise in lithium production, as well as their commitment to sustainably responsible practices, makes them an ideal partner.”

Lilium announced several other partnerships last week, including one with Honeywell and DENSO to develop and manufacture an electric motor for the Lilium Jet and a second with Aernnova to design and build a propulsion mounting system for the aircraft. Lilium began flight testing with its fifth-generation technology demonstrator in Spain last month. The company says it is aiming for speeds of up to 300 km/h (162 knots) with its six-passenger eVTOL jet and planning for it to be capable of routes between 40 and 200 km (22-108 NM) at launch with an eye toward trips of up to 500 km (270 NM) in the longer term.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Is it just me, or doesn’t the idea of using electrically-compressed air jets to lift/propel an aircraft seem to be an inefficient way to use that oh-so-limited battery power?

    • If you ignore induced flow over the wings and ducts. If we don’t ignore those features, it actually starts to make a lot of sense.

    • The problem, I think, is that yes, using jets of high velocity air for propulsion do make sense at “jet speed”, in fact they are almost a necessity, but batteries cannot support the energy requirements of jet speed flight. At best you will end up with a really slick looking aircraft that might be able to fly for a little while at high propeller aircraft speeds.

      • “… a little while at high propeller aircraft speeds …”

        That might well suffice – they are targeting regional use, not urban (flying taxis) or long distance.

  2. ‘revolutionize’ blah blah blah

    I’ll be laughing when the fan colours stupid investors with red ink.

  3. All these announcements of collaborations and plans are red meat for the skeptics. You’d think the companies would learn.

  4. These things will only “fly” on government subsidies and the squandered fortunes of the suckers convinced to invest in them. At the height of the ICON A5 hoopla – another Silicon Valley creation – I was given a ticket to the beer bash the company held at Oshkosh. At the bar we struck up a conversation with one of the investors who commented on the huge amount of money being spent on marketing, and that he doubted he’d ever get his money back out of the business. Anyone remember the Terror Fugia?

    • Ayup, the ‘dotcom’ phenomenon.

      And recall the SST company that could not raise more money – had not actually built anything.

      (Whereas Boom Supersonic has built a demonstrator for part of its technology, was in ground testing, but web site silent on current status.)

  5. Just curious: they’re “advancing lithium metal technology for use in high-performance battery cells” idea, while excellent in itself seems redundant since everyone else is doing the same thing. Including auto makers.

    Wouldn’t it be a better idea for everyone to pool resources? We’re all needing lightweight, inexpensive, durable and reliable power. If the powers that be, back in the day, had all gotten on the same page on fuel, gas would have been gas, no difference between avgas and mogas. Then we wouldn’t have been dealing with this stupid leaded avgas “problem” for the last 2 generations.

    • Well, there are differences between engine cycles and use, for one thing.
      And quality control of the fuel.

      You can run an engine on lower octane due to less lead, especially if you are computer engine control as cars do now, but you lose power. At least some recent Corvettes can use low octane, but the computer compensates and power is lower.

      Things aren’t as simple as you claim.

  6. Batteries are key, many claimed advances.

    Never low risk, recall:
    – thermal runaway fatal in aircraft a half century ago
    – Boeing’s 787 experience

    And also a half century ago, I was dealing with a pharmacist when there was a bang etc.
    A small device plugged into a nearby wall outlet to recharge had exploded.

    Deep pockets needed.