An electric jet start-up just signed a $1 billion deal with a commercial airliner

Lilium says its five-seater jets can travel up to 186 in one hour.


Lilium, a German start-up making electric jets that can take off and land vertically, has announced plans to sell 220 of its vehicles for up to $1 billion to Brazilian airliner Azul.

The two firms said on Monday that they plan to build an eVTOL (electric vehicle takeoff and landing) aircraft network across Brazil between now and 2025.

“The aircraft we’re planning to launch will do 175 miles an hour,” Alex Asseily, Lilium’s chief strategy officer, told CNBC on Monday. “The range will be 155 miles.”

The aviation industry is under intensifying pressure to look at new ways of powering their carriers as policymakers publicly acknowledge the necessity of transitioning to a low-carbon society.

Lilium’s latest aircraft is a five-seater model but the one that goes into serial production and gets sold to Azul will be a seven-seater model, Asseily said, adding that the production line is 50% complete.

Each Lilium jet will cost Azul roughly $4.5 million.

Azul is the largest domestic airline in Brazil in terms of cities served and daily departures.

John Rodgerson, CEO of Azul, said in a statement that Azul’s brand, route network and loyalty program will help to “create the markets and demand for the Lilium jet network in Brazil.”

Investors have backed Lilium, which competes with the likes of Airbus and BlackFly, with $300 million so far.

However, the company is planning to raise an additional $830 million that will give it a post-money valuation of around $3.3 billion. The money is being raised through a SPAC with QellSPAC, and will be chaired by former Airbus CEO Thomas Enders.

Tesla veteran Gabrielle Toledano and aviation executive Henri Courpron will join Lilium’s board of directors upon completion of Lilium’s business combination with QellSPAC.

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