Flying Taxis Got a Major Boost From a New Ultrafast Charging System

Going from zero to fully charged in 30 minutes.
Chris Young

Flying taxi firm Lilium and Swedish/Swiss tech multinational ABB announced a collaboration that will see them develop a superfast charging system for eVTOL aircraft that will allow them to increase the amount of time their machines spend in the skies transporting passengers, a press statement reveals.

ABB brings its expertise in battery development to the table, while Lilium provides the platform: its seven-seater eVTOL passenger aircraft, the Lilium Jet. Earlier this month, ABB unveiled the world's fastest electric car charger, the Terra 360, which is capable of fully charging an EV battery in less than 15 minutes.

In its statement, Lilium says its new system will be able to fully charge a Lilium Jet from zero power in only 30 minutes. It will also be able to reach 80 percent from zero in only fifteen minutes, meaning that incredibly short charging times can be scheduled depending on the travel destination. Lilium says these speedy charge times will help it to stay profitable while maintaining affordable fairs for travelers, as it will allow it to keep its aircraft almost constantly airborne.

Lilium Jets will fly up to 25 times per day

The new charger, called the MegaWatt system, "will allow direct current (DC) charging of up to 1,000 kW," Lilium says. The system's power, alongside the fact that the Lilium Jet will have an initial range of 155 miles (250 km) and a cruise speed around 175 mph (282 km/h), means that Lilium will be able to fly each of its aircraft between 20 and 25 times per day. Lilium also says its system will be available for heavy-duty electric vehicles such as trucks and buses, meaning it will help to "[pave] the way for the electrification of all modes of transport, from cars and trucks to marine vessels, mining vehicles, and now, aviation," according to Frank Muehlon, President of ABB’s E-mobility Division.

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Several flying taxis are gearing towards the launch of the passenger eVTOL industry. Lilium recently also announced it will building 10 modular vertiports to allow it to meet demand, with the air taxi market expected to reach a $6.63 billion valuation by 2030. German firm Volocopter, meanwhile, announced that it aims, to have its first flying taxi services running in Paris and Singapore by 2024. 

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