Home Science Sorry, Elon Musk! Tesla faces major competition with new FLYING electric transport

Sorry, Elon Musk! Tesla faces major competition with new FLYING electric transport

Tesla’s stock price has skyrocketed in recent days, leading to reports the company could soon join the US’ S&P 500 stock index – a list of America’s 500 biggest publicly traded businesses.

In addition, analysts are predicting the automaker – which designs electric cars such as the Model S and more affordable Model 3 – to post its fourth quarterly profit in a row this month.

Lilium is being compared to Tesla due to its ambition. (Image: Mark Brake / Getty)

But in the face Tesla’s recent success, a rival company dubbed the “Tesla of the sky” is aiming to avoid roads entirely with another mode of electric transport.

Lilium is a German company founded in 2015 by a group of men all studying at the Technical University of Munich.

The company says the then-students shared a common vision of “revolutionising the way we travel,” and to this end the company has developed an electric airplane called the Lilium Jet.

The jet is all-electric and there are plans for it to eventually become autonomous – meaning it will be able to fly itself.

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Ilium’s impression of their jet flying over New York. (Image: Ilium)

It will use a total of 36 engines mounted on two sets of wings, all capable of tilting so the direction of the thrust can be changed.

A video posted to Lilium’s website shows during take-off the engines will face vertically downwards “like in a rocket”, enabling the aircraft to rise into the air vertically.

Lilium say the jet is able to fly up to 300 km (186 miles), and with engines reportedly capable of generating 2,000 horsepower, it will be able to fly at speeds of up to 186 mph. It can also carry up to five people, pilot included.

Lilium chief executive Daniel Wiegand has described the mode of transport as “closest to teleporting”.

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An Ilium Jet under construction before engines are attached. (Image: Ilium)

Mr Wiegand told the Telegraph the company is currently test-flying an unmanned prototype of the Lilium Jet, and aims to eventually rival high-speed trains in terms of journey time and cost.

But analysts are also drawing comparisons between Lilium and Tesla due to their ambitions to use new technology and take the carbon out of travel.

Indeed, Lilium has recently received financial backing from British investment firm Baillie Gifford, which also invested in Tesla in the electric carmaker’s early stages.

According to a statement, Baillie Gifford invested a total of $ 35 million (£27.7 million) in Lilium last month, bringing the firm’s total investment to over $ 375 million (£297 million) up to that date.

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Tesla’s market value has skyrocketed in recent weeks. (Image: Joe Raedle / Getty)

The investment firm said it thought Lilium’s technology could have “profound” benefits in a low-carbon future.

Christopher Delbrück, Chief Financial Officer of Lilium, said: “Baillie Gifford is one of the world’s most influential tech investors and their commitment to Lilium represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case.

“The funds raised during this round give us the security to weather the challenging economic landscape we see around us and we’re grateful to be able to stay fully focused on our mission.”

Lilium is expected to launch its first service in 2025, though its first demonstration flight took place back in 2019. The company currently employs more than 450 people.

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