Electric VTOL jet maker Lilium has partnered with Honeywell and DENSO to co-develop and manufacture the electric motor that will power its engines.
Honeywell is already developing the Lilium Jet’s avionics and flight control systems and invested in Lilium in 2021. A leader in aerospace technologies with over 100 years of experience, Honeywell also has an alliance with automotive giant DENSO to develop aerospace electric propulsion solutions. Through this collaboration, the Lilium Jet’s e-motor will benefit from Honeywell’s aerospace expertise as well as DENSO’s experience in high-quality volume production.
The Lilium e-motor is a proprietary, high-performance system, on which Lilium, DENSO and Honeywell teams have been working for nearly two years. It is expected to bring exceptional performance and reliability with zero operating emissions typically associated with commercial jet engines. An air-cooled design offers structural simplicity and ease of maintenance compared with traditional liquid cooling systems, and therefore has the potential to significantly reduce aircraft operating costs.
The e-motor has its rotor and stator in a centrifugal or ‘radial’ configuration, compared to traditional axial designs. This lowers the component’s weight, manufacturing costs and susceptibility to foreign object damage. It also boasts industry-leading power density, with the first prototypes designed to extract over 100kW of power from a system weighing just over 4kg.
Yves Yemsi, Chief Operating Officer of Lilium said: “Lilium’s Procurement strategy is to engage with the technology providers with the most suitable expertise. We are already making great progress with Honeywell on its Honeywell Anthem integrated flight deck and flight control computers, and we are delighted to deepen our relationship by also partnering with Honeywell and DENSO on our e-motor. The collaboration with these two powerhouses takes us further along the path to revolutionizing regional air mobility.”
Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager of Urban Air Mobility, Honeywell Aerospace said: “Honeywell has been at the forefront of innovation in aviation for a century, and we are proud to closely collaborate with DENSO and help usher in the age of electric flight. Lilium’s innovation, combined with our experience in aerospace, will help to bring about cleaner, more sustainable ways for people to travel for centuries to come.”
Koji Ishizuka, senior director of the Electric Sora-Mobi Business Promotion Department at DENSO, said: “DENSO’s focus is powering the shift to a green, safe and seamless mobility future for all. We’re grateful to work with Honeywell and Lilium on making air travel cleaner and more efficient, and in doing so, we have the opportunity to apply our electrification expertise to vehicles on land and in the sky.”