German Lillium, a technology start-up working on plans for an electric passenger taxi capable of carrying five passengers, has received a significant capital injection courtesy of a venture capital investment consortium led by China’s Tencent.
Lillium was formed in 2015 to develop electric flying taxis and made its first capital raising of $ 11.4 million last year. In the second round of investments, in addition to Tencent, the LGT investment fund in Liechtenstein, the European venture capital fund Atomico and Obvious Ventures created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams took part.
According to investors, Lillium as a technology start-up stands out far from the European average dominated by e-commerce initiatives, and can be considered a Silicon Valley category.
Lillium began development of the five-seater aircraft in April this year after successfully completing experiments with its two-seater vehicle capable of converting from vertical take-off and hovering to fixed-wing flight. The new capital injection is intended to recruit Lillium specialists, doubling its current staff of about seventy. The company plans to begin testing the five-seater aircraft with a passenger in 2019, and it could go commercial sometime in the next decade.
The vehicle has a range of 300 kilometers, a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour, and a 20-kilometer journey from Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport can be made in five minutes.