German eVTOL developer Lilium will partner with Spanish aerostructures manufacturer Aciturri to build the composite structure of its eVTOL aircraft, which the company intends to begin serial production of in 2024.
Using carbon fiber composites supplied by Toray, which Lilium signed a supplier agreement with in May 2020, Aciturri will work collaboratively with Lilium’s engineers to design and manufacture the aircraft’s complex fuselage structure as well as the highly integrated canards and wing structures that support the aircraft’s propulsion systems.
Manufacturing will take place at Aciturri’s recently-expanded plant in Boecillo, Spain, with the completed aerostructures then transported to Lilium’s final assembly line at Wessling in southern Germany, according to AIN Online.
For Aciturri, likely facing reduced production rates for its airliner clients, signing with Lilium — and potentially other eVTOL customers — could provide greater diversification for the company.
“During my 16 years at Airbus, I became well acquainted with Aciturri’s capabilities in producing complex composite structures for commercial aircraft, to exacting quality standards,” said Yves Yemsi, chief program officer at Lilium who led the company’s selection process. “Few companies in the world have mastered designing and manufacturing aerospace composite structures like Aciturri.”
Since a prototype was badly damaged in a fire during ground testing last February, the five-seat eVTOL Lilium Jet has yet to return to the skies. Now targeting certification in 2023, Lilium is currently re-working its prototype to lengthen the fuselage and increase payload capacity, with plans to fly a production-conforming prototype beginning this spring.
Lilium’s product roadmap also reportedly includes larger versions of the aircraft, with CEO Daniel Wiegand hinting at plans for 15- and 60-seat electric aircraft.
External concerns regarding its aircraft design notwithstanding, Lilium has charged ahead to secure every aspect of its future regional transportation network, signing agreements with Ferrovial and Tavistock Development group to build vertiports across Florida and Spain. The company is rumored to be in talks with multiple special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in pursuit of a debut on public markets.