Now you can own your own 7-seat eVTOL, if you're crazy rich
Got a pilot's license? That and a cool ten mil will let you take off vertically then soar horizontally through the sky with Lilium's sleek electric-powered craft, which is now on sale in the US market. It represents the first time eVTOLs have been offered commercially.
Electric take off and landing vehicles (eVTOL), which are kind of like passenger drones, are coming on strong in the commercial sector. In 2021, UK-based Halo ordered 200 of the machines made by Eve, a spin-off from Brazilian aerospace conglomerate, Embraer. As of 2023, there were 2,770 backorders for Eve vehicles, bearing a total value of US $8.3 billion, according to Valor International.
Earlier this year, Tokyo-based SkyDrive announced a production deal with Suzuki to begin manufacturing its two-passenger eVTOL in early 2024. And just days ago, the eHang EH 216, equipped with 16 propellers, received clearance to begin work as a commercial air taxi in China.
A major player in this space, that we've covered extensively here, is German-based Lilium, with its seven-seat "air minibus" designed for longer-range inter-city travel. Instead of using the large rotors seen on other eVTOLs, it uses a series of small ducted fans for both vertical and horizontal propulsion.
The tech, termed ducted electric vectored thrust, or DEVT, has been a big win for the company, as our recent interview with Lilium co-founder, Daniel Wiegand points out. In fact, Lilium signed its own major commercial deal with Brazil's third largest domestic airline, Azul, in 2021. That contract was for the delivery of 220 units and was valued at nearly a billion dollars.
Now, Lilium has announced that it will be offering the first large eVTOL air taxis for private sale in the US. The company has partnered with EMCJET, an aircraft brokerage and management company based in Texas. The partnership grants EMCJET exclusive distribution rights through 2030, and currently it has secured five production slots from Lilium.
While commercial availability of an eVTOL might spark dreams of taking a flying car from your driveway to the supermarket for a loaf of bread, you're going to first need a pretty substantial bank account. "List price is US$10 million, which includes a comprehensive service and warranty package, making it one of the most cost-effective jets to operate in its class," company representative, Christine Pierk, told us.
If that doesn't quite fit your budget, there are many cheaper options, from the bare-bones, single-seat, US$92,000 Jetson One, to the agriculturally-minded, single-seat US$150,000 Ryse Recon, to the smart-looking, two-seat, US$150,000 Air One, to the somewhat similar, two-seat, US$175,000 SkyFly Axe and several others.
Earlier this year, Lilium's jet hit its max air speed of 155 mph (250 km/h) as you can see in the video below.